World War I Centennial

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.


Events:  Kentucky in WWI Exhibit at the State Fair

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South Wing B through August 27, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

On August 17, the Kentucky World War I Centennial Exhibit opened at the Kentucky State Fair. National WWI Centennial Commissioner Terry Hanby, a Vietnam Veteran and native Kentuckian, spoke at the opening, congratulating the Kentucky WWI Centennial Committee on its hard work and accomplishment.
Many first-day visitors expressed their admiration and appreciation for the exhibit, which features a WWI-era truck, a full-sized replica of a barracks from Camp Zachary Taylor, which training 150,000 American soldiers for WWI service overseas, and a replica of a WWI trench, including a sandbag wall and soundtrack of battle noises.
There are many displays of authentic WWI artifacts, including rifles, uniforms, tools, medical instruments and more, plus displays on the animals used during WWI, from horses to glow-worms.
Visitors also made construction-paper poppies to honor WWI veterans and posted them on the Poppy Wall, which displays hand-made poppies from students, scouts and community groups from across the Commonwealth.
The exhibit is open throughout the State Fair, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays) through Sunday, August 27.

First-day pictures here.


Events:  Filson Historical Society Exhibit Opening "The Forgotten War"

Filson poster.jpgFriday, April 7 | 4:00 - 6:30 p.m.
The Filson Historical Society, 1310 S. 3rd St.
Free
 
 The Filson Historical Society has two new exhibits in its newly renovated campus: "Called to Arms: Kentuckians in the First World War," located in the Nash Gallery of The Filson's Ferguson Mansion; and "Selling the War: Posters from WWI," located in The Filson's Wood Carriage House's Bingham Gallery.
 
Called to Arms: Kentuckians in the First World War - This exhibit will focus on The Great War both abroad and at home. The exhibit covers the evolution of World War I, both locally and globally, by telling stories of local mobilization, sharing perspectives from the trenches, showcasing advances in military technology of the times, and sharing stories from the home front.
 
Selling the War: Posters from WWI - This exhibit will take a more visual approach to the war, featuring original lithographic World War I propaganda posters commissioned by the United States Committee on Public Information's Division of Pictorial Publicity. This exhibit will be on display from Apr. 7-July 28, 2017. This exhibit is sponsored by YMCA of Greater Louisville.
 
Light refreshments will be served.



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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Spotlight
: 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.

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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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Two Ways to Stay Informed:

 
Sign up for text alerts.  We send these no more than two or three times per week, always to call attention to imminent events of interest to veterans.  Text Follow kyveterans to 40404.

Join the KDVA listserve. We send no more than two or three emails per day about events and issues importatnt to veterans. If you wish to be added to the listserve, please email lisa.aug@ky.gov.

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24-Hour VA Crisis Hotline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Read More

WWI Centennial Committee 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

Poppy Pickup

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Students across the Commonwealth are making poppies to honor the World War I Centennial and to be displayed at the KY World War I Exhibit at the 2017 Kentucky State Fair in August. Here, Ronnie and Diane French, right, make a Poppy Pick up at Lewis County Central Elementary School from teacher Laura Stone. The class made 110 poppies. Teachers interested in participating in the Poppy Project may call Deputy Commissioner Heather French Henry at 502-564-9203.

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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