Sync Call for Wednesday May 20 at Noon EST
1. News and Announcements:
Pvt. Henry Johnson and Sgt. William Shemin will receive Medal of Honor
Exciting news! Last week the White House announced that WWI soldiers Sgt. William Shemin and Pvt. Henry Johnson will each receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for their actions in the war.
Sergeant William Shemin will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions while serving as a member of the 47th Infantry Regiment, American Expeditionary Forces. While serving as a rifleman from August 7-9, 1918, Sergeant Shemin left the cover of his platoon's trench and crossed open space, repeatedly exposing himself to heavy machine gun and rifle fire to rescue the wounded. After officers and senior non-commissioned officers had become casualties, Shemin took command of the platoon and displayed great initiative under fire, until he was wounded, August 9.
Private Henry Johnson will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions while serving as a member of the 369th Infantry Regiment, American Expeditionary Forces. Private Johnson entered the Army on June 5, 1917. He was assigned to an all-black National Guard unit that would later become the 369th Infantry Regiment. The Regiment was ordered into battle in 1918, and Private Johnson and his unit were brigaded with a French Army colonial unit in front-line combat. While on night sentry duty on May 15, 1918, Private Johnson and a fellow Soldier received a surprise attack by a German raiding party consisting of at least 12 soldiers. While under intense enemy fire and despite receiving significant wounds, Johnson mounted a brave retaliation resulting in several enemy casualties. When his fellow soldier was badly wounded, Private Johnson prevented him from being taken prisoner by German forces. Private Johnson exposed himself to grave danger by advancing from his position to engage an enemy soldier in hand-to-hand combat. Displaying great courage, Private Johnson held back the enemy force until they retreated.
The award ceremony will take place on June 2.
For more information, visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/05/14/president-obama-award-medal-honor
Virginia World War I Centennial Commission Website
We are happy to report that the VA WWI Centennial Commission website is nearing completion. Virginia is the first state to take advantage of the opportunity to house their state website within our national www.worldwar1centennial.org. Their site will go live next week on May 26! You can check them out on the Virginia WWICC Facebook page as well.
GI Film Festival 2015
The GI Film Festival is happening now in Fairfax and Washington DC. It will include three WWI movies including Never Forgotten by the ABMC which premieres on Saturday at 3:30pm as well as The Millionaires' Unit and Soldiers' Stories which show on Sunday at 3 and 3:30 respectively. Check out our calendar for details.
Design Competition Press Announcement
As we announced last week, tomorrow is the our official unveiling of the design competition for the WWI Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC. It will be at the National Press Club at 2pm. This is open to the public and afterward the memorial design competition portion of our website will go live. This is very exciting to us, we can't wait to see submissions and move this along.
A big thank you to our Dir. of Communications, Chris Isleib, for his work on this. There have been several stories on this already:
The AP Wire story is now out on about 50-60 outlets nationally. Here's a small sample:
A new challenge for our listeners: as you know, we are trying to digitize our efforts in commemorating the centennial. You can help us do it! Just Download Google's Camera app to your phone and use the PhotoSphere setting to take 360° pictures of your local WWI monuments and memorials. The app shows you where to point the camera and then stitches the photos together to create the image. Send them in to us and we'll post the best submissions!
Check out this link for a tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UozBwluWW0M
And this link for more information: https:// /maps/about/contribute/photosphere/
Memorial Day Weekend Events
In Washington, DC:
There will be several ceremonies at the US Navy Memorial in Washington DC:
- On Saturday at 11am: Rolling Thunder Wreath Laying Ceremony
- On Monday:
- 10am EDT: Fleet Reserve Association Wreath Laying Ceremony
- 1pm EDT: USN Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony with USN Band & Ceremonial Guard
- 2pm EDT: Veterans Writing Project presentation
Monday: American Veterans' Center National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, DC
Chairman Rob Dalessandro will ride in the WWI Packard Truck with our awesome volunteer, Dave Lockard. Parade will commence at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Streets, NW. It will proceed west down Constitution, past the White House, ending at 17th Street. Participants will pass by the nation's monuments, museums, and hundreds of thousands of spectators waving their flags and cheering for our country's heroes – the men and women who wear the uniform of our armed forces.
In Los Angeles:
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will open its gates for veterans as a tribute to their service to our country. The Coliseum was commissioned in 1921 as a memorial to Los Angeles County veterans of The Great War and was rededicated on Nov. 11, 1968, in ceremonies commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the 1918 Armistice, to all who served in the United States Armed Forces during World War 1. The plaque commemorating this occasion is inscribed with the words "Lest We Forget...May the Torch of Freedom Always Burn Bright." Self-Guided Tours will be offered from 10am-4pm while Guided Tours will be offered at10:30am and 1:30pm. Head of Los Angeles Outreach for the United States World War One Centennial Commission, Courtland Jindra, will be speaking at the beginning of the Guided Tours regarding the history of WWI and the Coliseum.
The Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation & Community Facilities will present a program in honor of our nation's veterans on Monday, May 25, at 4:00 p.m. at the World War I Memorial Carillon in Byrd Park. Featured will be a concert on the Carillon bells by longtime city carillonneur Larry Robinson, and a vocal concert by renowned barbershop group The Virginians. Please call (804)646-3680 for more information.
At the National WWI Museum at Liberty Memorial
The National World War I Museum in Kansas City, MO is hosting 10 events this Memorial Day weekend. Check them out on their website! https://theworldwar.org/memorialday2015