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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Ready for a Great American History lesson? WWI Centennial, April 1917

American Field medical kit, 1917
Musee de la Grande Guerre, Meaux France
(Jo-Ann Power, photo)
Probably the least appreciated subject in school tends to be history. Just watch any of those "man on the street" interviews where a tv announcer asks someone who George Washington was and you can cringe.
But the best way to teach history is to live it.
And here, for your continuing education and delight, is a BRIEF list of a few groups and organizations creating really wonderful projects. Take note. Take yourself to these sites virtual and real. Better yet, take your children!
Learn from the past with these terrific programs:

1. Go to to see the complete list, to date. Return often and look for more in your city or town!

2. For August 3-4, when the official commemorations begin in Europe, do see the wonderful lists of events our friends have developed here:
Germany: 100 Jahre Erster Weltkrieg
 German War Graves Commission web site

August 3 in the Alsace, the French and German heads of state meet to reaffirm their dedication to peace. They meet in the Alsace, one of the most hotly contested regions between the two countries. The meet beneath this sculpture of their ancestors carved into a mountain above the battlefield.

How could this possibly be of interest to Americans?
Well, I can tell you for myself that because my ancestors fled the Alsace in 1859 because of the constant warfare there, I find this interest in peace-keeping personally significant and gratifying to know.
From "They will meet at Hartmannswillerkopf, where almost 30,000 soldiers from both sides died in a series of battles for control of a strategic promontory overlooking the Alsatian Plain and the Rhine Valley. Known to French soldiers of the Great War as the Vieil Armand battlefield, the area was declared a historic monument in 1921, and now serves as a symbol of Franco-German reconciliation."

3. For those with a passion for more WWI info, do go to World War One Historcal Association site:  You may join for a nominal sum.
    They have a monthly magazine which you can read on line or in print, written by experts in the subject.

4. If you saw on TV the 3-part History Channel documentary about the Two World Wars, then you saw brief bios of George Patton, the famous general who fought in the Argonne in World War One, and Douglas MacArthur who commanded the Rainbow Division, the unit that fought in Oise-Aisne and into Meuse-Argonne campaigns.
     For those of you who live in the Tidewater area, visit MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, VA.
    For a short and useful video of the causes of the war, do watch this 13 minute film:

5. Bringing the remembrance of those who fought to the cities and towns in the USA, a few organizations have wonderfully informative programs. One of these is the World War I Memorial Inventory Project,
   This project is very exciting, recording in one place for the first time all of the memorials, large and small, the many American commemorations of the war we entered late...but helped to win.

6. Similar to the Inventory Project, but focused on teaching American children the history of the men and women who helped fight the war is Saving Hallowed Ground.  Led by Eugene P. Hough, this group will help communities organize and find the records of local military and volunteers who served in the war. Many of these men and women went abroad, fought and returned to little or no acclaim. With each school child choosing one name of a veteran and then learning about them and telling his or her classmates about that person, they will allow these men and women to live again in the hearts and minds of their countrymen. See

    If any of these groups or their projects appeal to you, do contact the organizers or leaders. They will be happy to assist you with any efforts you may wish to contribute to remembering those who served in World War One.
   Please return here for more of my list of great American WWI Commemoration groups and events!