World War I Commemoration

This is the 100th Anniversary of the Great War, the one they called the War to End All Wars.  There are no more World War I veterans alive to tell us about it themselves, but the United States World War I Centennial Commemoration​ is making sure the rest of us don't forget them and what they did. 

Learn more about the First World War here.

Paducah Memorial.jpgMemorials: Local WWI Memorials Across Kentucky:  Paducah
Paducah has a World War I monument in Oak Grove Cemetery.

The monument was erected and dedicated in 1928 by Paduke Post 31 of the American Legion. The bronze monument with a granite base was designed by sculptor John Paulding, cast by the American Bronze Company, and erected by the Beasley Monument Company.  The inscription on the front of the monument reads: 1928, Erected and dedicated by the American Legion to our comrades of the World War who sleep the long sleep.  One of the monument’s sides has the inscription: When to the last assault our bugles blow: reckless of pain and peril we shall go.  Heads high and hearts aflame and bayonets bare, and we shall brave eternity as though eyes looked on us in which we would seem fair.  The other two sides of the monument recognize the Paducah Mayor, City Commissioners, McCracken County Judge, and County Commissioners.

Photo by Pam Spencer, Public Information Officer for the City of Paducah.

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: Kentucky in the Great War
The Filson Historical Society has a treasure trove of photographs, memoris, news accounts and other information about Kentuckians in World War I.  Start exploring online here.

Spotlight: Louisville in the Great War
Louisville was, of course, very actively involved in the Great War with the construction of the army training facility Camp Zachary Taylor in 1917, and over 10,000 local soldiers serving in the war.

Spotlight: Those Who Served and Those Who Never Returned
The National Guard History eMuseum tells us that a total of 84,172 persons from Kentucky served in the United States Army. This total included 80,009 enlisted men, 3,747 commissioned officers, 241 nurses, 153 army field clerks, and 22 United States Marine Cadets.
A breakdown of these figures show that there were 12,759 men in the regular Army, 7,518 National Guardsmen, 2,526 in the Reserve Corps, 2,734 volunteers, and 58,635 drafted men. Seven Kentuckians were Army Major Generals, nine were Brigadier Generals, and 23 were Colonels. Distinguished aviators were Major Victor Strohm and Lieutenant Colonel J. O. Creech.
Of the overall total 41,655 saw overseas duty, while 2,418 deaths occurred among Kentucky troops, 890 of which were battle deaths.

Spotlight: The WWI Armistice Anniversary Became Veterans Day
The Armistice between the warring nations of WWI was signed on November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m.  For 23 years, Americans recognized the 11 hour of the 11th day of the 11th month as Armistice Day, the end of the War to End All Wars. 
After World War II, Armistice Day was re-named Veterans Day to accomodate those who fought in the most recent war.
As KDVA Deputy Commissioner Heather French Henry wrote in an Armistice Day op-ed, it was the needs of World War I veterans that prompted Congress of the time to expand benefits for veterans, including insurance, disability compensation and vocational rehabilitation.


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WWI Commissioners Jennifer Adrio, American Red Cross; Lisa Aug, KY Dept. Veterans Affairs (KDVA); Candace Bradley, Lexington VAMC; Kristen Branscum, KY Tourism, Arts, Heritage; Bill Bright, KY Military History Museum; Mary Broeker, KY Commission on Women; Betty Butler, American Legion; Marvin Claywell, South Central KY Cultural Center; Robert Curren, Louisville Ballet; Helen H. Evans, DAR; Melissa Hall, KDVA; Heather French Henry, KDVA; Greg Huen, AMVETS; James Holmberg, Filson Historical Society; Ken Maguire, Camp Zachary Taylor Historical Society; Lori Meadows, KY Arts Council; Marty Nemes, KY League of Cities; Penny Peaveler, Frazier History Museum; Stuart Sanders, KY Military History Museum; Dr. Margaret Spratt, Hopewell Museum; Kate Sprengnether, KY Arts Council; Roger Stapleton, KY Heritage Council; Sherry Wesley, South Central KY Cultural Center; Jerona White, KY Council for Social Studies; Judy Williams, Louisville VAMC

Recent Events

Commemorating World War 1 Centennial

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Ken Wentworth of the Kentucky Historical Society, Deputy Commissioner Henry and Commissioner Arflack testified before the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee. Afterwards, the committee unanimously approved a Concurrent Resolution commemorating the 2017-2019 Centennial of World War 1.

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Deputy Commissioner Heather French Henry and Camp Zachary Taylor Historian Ken Maguire testified Feb. 22 to the House Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee. Afterwards, the committee also unanimously approved a Concurrent Resolution commemorating the 2017-2019 Centennial of World War 1.

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