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Sync Call for Wednesday April 06 at 12pm EDT


News at a Glance

1. Battlefield Tours Collaboration Call - Tomorrow!

2. MA, IL, NYC Proclamations

3. Doughboy MIA Update

Read more below!


Help the WW1CC!

  1. Donate! Go to our donations page.
  2. Send us interns! Direct anyone you know who is interested to our Internship webpage.
  3. Help with state and regional organization! Let Andrew McGreal know and he will send you information on how to get involved.
  4. Shop at SMILE.AMAZON.COM! Enter the "United States Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars" as your charitable organization.
  5. Wear official WW1 commemorative merchandise with pride! Head over to the Commission shop for a full selection.

Register for the Sync Call

To join us for the Sync Call you must register here (name and email are all that are required). You need register only once - doing so will sign you up to join next week's call and every call thereafter.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us via ww1cc.org/contact using subject line "Sync Call"

News and Announcements:

Updates from the States

Volunteer for state outreach. Contact the National Coordination Team if you are willing to help.

State Outreach Collaboration Call - TOMORROW!
The next State Outreach Collaboration Call will be held tomorrow Thursday, April 7 at 12 pm EDT. This call will focus on Organizing Overseas Battlefield Tours. Panelists include representatives from from the French and Belgian Tourism Boards as well as a very experienced US-based tour guide. We will also have ABMC representatives on-hand to answer questions about ABMC cemeteries. We encourage you to join the call if your organization plans to operate or otherwise associate with battlefield tours during the centennial - the call promises to share a lot of great information. If you would like to be added to the Collaboration Call roster, email Andrew McGreal. We will post a recording of this call and a report on it on ww1cc.org/State-Outreach.

Governor Rauner issued a Proclamation on April 1st announcing that the Illinois National Guard and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library - our Founding Sponsor - would take the lead for commemorating WWI in Illinois. The Illinois WWI Centennial Committee will help ensure Illinoisans remember the service and sacrifice of those individuals who served and their families during the WWI centennial period.

New York City
NYC WW1CC announced their new organization yesterday, April 5, in a ceremony that was attended by six counsels general, as well as a host of leaders in the historical and cultural community in New York City. New York City was a major player in America's war effort 100 years ago, and there are incredible stories to tell. The Lusitania departed from NYC on its last voyage, the Black Tom Explosion helped draw us into the war, the huge Camp Upton trained hundreds of thousands of Army soldiers, millions of troops shipped over to France from the ports of New York, the legendary Harlem Hellfighters came from uptown, and the Fighting 69th Division came from downtown. After the war, the troops were thrilled to see the Statue of Liberty greet their return home. The NYC Commission plans a host of activities, education programs and events over the coming months.

Massachusetts Secretary of Veterans Affairs Francisco Urena issued a proclamation announcing the establishment of a Massachusetts WWI Centennial Committee today, April 6. Roger Fisk, our Chief Development Officer, was in attendance.

Mississippi has set a date for its Bicentennial Celebration, which will include commemorative events for the WWI Centennial. The dates are April 7-9, 2017 and the events will take place at Centennial Plaza in Gulfport, MS.

Plans include:

  • Educational experiences for teachers and students with lesson plans and hands on activities
  • A Military Ball (1 in 4 people on the Mississippi coast are connected with the military)
  • A production on the Story of the State (which includes Mississippi’s involvement in WWI)
  • A Sunday Service to honor the fallen in WWI with some students performing excerpts from Remembrance

The Iowa National Guard and the Iowa Gold Star Museum will host a ribbon cutting ceremony dedicating a new WWI Exhibit on Saturday, April 9. One of the many features of the exhibit is an interactive fighting trench, providing visitors a realistic experience of soldiers undergoing night-time trench warfare. Visit the museum website for more information.

During the upcoming Pennsylvania Museums Conference to be held at The Vanguard of the Museum Revolution in West Chester, PA, there will be an informal titled “Pennsylvania at War: Commemorating WWI & II”. This discussion is set for April 12 at 12:45 pm. Rusty Baker, Executive Director of PA Museums, and Beth Hager, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will lead the informal discussion and will detail an online effort to highlight World Wars commemorative activities in Pennsylvania. Visit the PA Museums website to view the preliminary program and register for the conference.

Tennessee State Parks will host a WWI Encampment in Nashville’s Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park on April 15 & 16. Visitors are invited to see the soldiers of the Great War come to life. There will be several programs as well as weapon firing demonstrations. Additionally, for those of you in Tennessee, a documentary about Tennessee’s role in World War I airs tonight, April 6, on WCTE-TV/PBS at 7:00 p.m. It will be available on WCTE’s YouTube channel later in the month.

WWICC Video Library

We have a new video in our video library of Commissioner O’Connell on WNBC-TV News 4 New York talking about NYC, WWI, the NYC WWI commission and their upcoming activities. Check it out in our Video Library here!

St. Mihiel Trip-Wire

Mike Hanlon has posted the latest issue of the St. Mihiel Trip-Wire .As usual it has a number of items related to the Centennial, including the first announcement of the annual seminar and a State oriented World War I history sites that cover both the war and the homefront. He has also included a preview of tomorrow’s State Outreach Collaboration Call. Check it out here.


For the past couple of calls, we’ve talked about The Doughboy MIA Project’s research trip to the National Archives. The Project wrapped up the research expedition last thursday and reported that while they didn’t find the missing burial cards they set out to find, they did find the original artists drawings of the Meuse-Argonne cemetery from 1920 that show exactly how the Graves were laid out as well as the sections they were divided into as opposed to today's blocks. This will provide some necessary info that could lead to a breakthrough - As a matter of fact, they believe they may be onto something already, but need to research more before saying more. Stay tuned!

A special thanks to volunteer Angelo, Nancy, Mike, Patsy, Kurt and Josh, who helped search over 275 boxes of documents!

Read more about the project on the Doughboy MIA website.

Upcoming Events:

Next WWICC Meeting May 4 at the National WWI Museum and Memorial
The Commission will hold its next meeting on May 4 in Kansas City at the National WWI Museum and Memorial. The meeting will begin at 9am; it is open to the general public.

Midway Village Museum - April 9-10
Two Incredible Days of Military History Largest World War I Public Event in North America
Midway Village Museum in northern Illinois will host the 4th annual Great War Event on April 9 & 10. The event will feature re-enactors portraying soldiers and civilians from the United States, France, Great Britain, Belgium, Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary in the museum’s 13-acre Village. Visitors will engage in history with the opportunity to tour a reproduction three-bunker trench, talk to over 220 re-enactors about life as a soldier, learn about the war’s military equipment and combat techniques, and watch large-scale narrated battle reenactments. It truly promises to be a spectacular event! Our own Commissioner Col Tom Moe will be there as a special guest. This event will be open to the public for 2 days. Read more here.

Lafayette Escadrille Memorial Rededication Ceremony- Wednesday, April 20 in Paris
A new special section on the World War 1 Centennial Commission web site tells the story of the Lafayette Escadrille, the squadron, the heritage, the memorial , the re-dedication event, and an expanding series of articles about those pioneering and brave young Americans who went to France to fly before America entered the war. We invite you to explore it here!

US Mint Coin Design Competition - Feb 29 - Apr 28
The United States Mint is calling on American artists to design a WWI commemorative coin, to be issued in 2018. The coin will serve as a tribute to the bravery, actions and sacrifices of Americans a century ago, while providing a tangible touch point for generations to come. The competition is open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are at least 18 years or older. During Phase One of the competition, which is open from February 29–April 28, 2016, artists are encouraged to submit their contact information and three to five work samples using the online form on the Mint website. Up to 20 applicants from Phase One will be selected to participate in Phase Two, where they will create and submit designs and plasters for the final coin. The winner will not only have his or her initials on the final coin, but will also receive a $10,000 prize. The Coin Design Competition is an opportunity for American artists to inspire people with the bravery, actions and sacrifices of Americans, as well as encouraging future generations to remember and appreciate the history of World War I.

Press Announcement for Special Advisers
On Wednesday, May 18, the Commission will hold a press announcement for our Special Advisers in Pershing Park, Washington, DC. Our Special Advisers include:
-Secretary Leon Panetta
-Vint Cerf
-Sandy Pershing
-Gen. Barry McCaffrey
-Commissioner Ray Kelly
More on this event in the coming weeks.

National WWI Memorial at Pershing Park

We have several news story from the Commission’s trips to Arkansas last week. Check them out below!
-Arkansas News
-Arkansas Online
-Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette
-40/29 News KHBS-KHOG
-University of Arkansas News

Visit ww1cc.org/design to check out the winning design team and their design concept.

You can make this memorial a reality by donating $11.11 today to the Memorial Fund. These veterans deserve a memorial. We can build it.

Challenge Coins

We will offer our partners the opportunity to create and purchase challenge coins with our logo on the obverse and theirs on the reverse. Let Meredith Carr know if you’re interested.

WW1 Commemorative Merchandise

The WW1CC merchandise store is open on our website! Go online to get your own fine-crafted piece of WW1 commemorative merchandise and to support the Commission all at once. We have an exciting and varied line of products available for purchase - check it out today!

DISPATCH Newsletter

The Commission publishes a weekly newsletter, the DISPATCH. If you’re not receiving this and want to, sign up on our Commission Subscription webpage.


WWI Word of the Week

Brought to you by the WWICC Millennial Marketing Interns

A brief break due to our office move.


Volunteer Spotlight

Rebekah Wilson, WWICC Director of Operations & Former Volunteer

Rebekah is an Iraq War veteran. When she first moved to DC, she was appalled by the horrendously poor state of the DC WWI Memorial - the sidewalks were cracked, the marble chipped and stained, and the lawn unkempt. That these soldiers had been forgotten did not sit well with her. She linked up with then-WWI activist Edwin Fountain (now the Vice-Chair of the WWICC) and organized twice-yearly cleanups and a Veterans Day flag display at the memorial. In time, the DC WWI memorial was restored, but Rebekah stayed active as a volunteer, eventually volunteering for the Commission. A little over a year ago, she jumped at the opportunity to join the then-newly forming Commission staff as its Director of Operations. Rebekah is proud to work for the Commission and believes its mission to honor and commemorate the veterans of the First World War is one of the most important of her career.


The Great War Channel

Would you like to see some great videos on YouTube about WWI? Check out The Great War Channel. Posting multiple times a week, ‘The Great War’ shows you the history of the First World War in the four years from 1914 to 1918. The host, Indy, takes you back week by week and shows you what was going on in the past. Please subscribe to see these great posts. Their latest videos are:

Verdun - A Nightmare to Annex : THE GREAT WAR - Week 88
Published on Mar 31, 2016. After the huge failure at Mort Homme the Germans decide to take Cote 304 and therefore go to the western edge of the Verdun salient to make progress. On the Eastern Front the Russian 5th army loses 28,000 men in the Lake Naroch offensive and runs in its own artillery fire while at home, the Russian minister of war will be sacked. On the sea, German U-boats strike down a hospitalship and a ferry, which they thought were troopships.

The Trench Cycle - What Happened to Captured Weapons? : OUT OF THE TRENCHES
Published on Apr 2, 2016. In this week's episode of Out Of The Trenches Indy answers your questions about the trench rotation system, listening posts and captured weapons.

Armed Neutrality - The Netherlands In WW1 : THE GREAT WAR Special
Published on Apr 4, 2016. The Netherlands were surrounded by World War 1 from 1914 onwards and their stance of armed neutrality made it difficult to manoeuvre between the Entente and the Central Powers. And while the Netherlands never joined the conflict in the end, the war took his toll on the nation.



The Great War Project with Mike Shuster


Gabrielle Petit is 23; Worked with British Intelligence.
Now Remembered as a National Hero.

Gabrelle Petit, spy for the British in German Occupied Belgium. At dawn on this day a century ago, the German occupation forces in Belgium execute Gabrielle Petit.

Petit is a Belgian woman working for the British Secret Service in Brussels and other parts of German-occupied Belgium.

Among her activities, she distributes Libre Belgique, or Free Belgium, a clandestine anti-German newspaper.

She is living in Belgium when the war breaks out and immediately volunteers for the Belgian Red Cross.

Soon after that, she begins her work as a spy. One of her first actions — she helps her solider fiancee, who is wounded, to get out of Belgium, crossing the border to the Netherlands. There, he is able to rejoin his regiment.

During that action she gathers valuable information about the deployment of German forces in Belgium. When she returns to Brussels, she turns the information over to British intelligence.

The British quickly realize Petit is a valuable asset, and they put her on the payroll to spy on the Germans, reporting regularly on the movement of German troops. In this activity she uses a number of false identities.

She also works with an underground mail service called Mot de Soldat, or The Soldier’s Word.

A century ago, Petit is betrayed by a German whom she thought to be Dutch. She is arrested in February 1916. For these and other activities, she is put on trial, found guilty, and sentenced to execution on April 1st, today one hundred years ago....

Read more at GreatWarProject.org

Statue of Gabrielle Petit, executed spy, in central Brussels

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