World War I Centennial

  • WWI Memorial

Thousands of soldiers with bayoneted rifles going “over the top” of a barb-wired, rat infested trench.  Ever onward, soldiers fall to the left, to the right, in front and back  mowed down by enemy gunfire while crossing ever more trenches into “No man’s land.”

Hundreds of dead soldiers lying face down amidst the trees in a forest.

Row after row of hospital beds filled with wounded soldiers tended by  Red Cross nurses.

Blackened  corpses lying in a hastily dug grave.  Soldiers in gas masks.  The ghastly scenes of gas warfare.

Millions of soldiers suffering from “shell shock”–psychological  trauma–haunted by the indescribable horrors of war.

Women and children wounded and in shock.

Horses pulling wagons and cannons mired in mud too exhausted to go on.

Rudimentary tanks, airplanes, vehicles abandoned in destruction and carnage as far as the eye can see.

Cities lying in rubble.

These are just some of the horrific scenes of carnage and destruction from “The Great War,” “The War to End all Wars,” World War I, fought in the area of Belgium/France and on the Eastern Front  from 1914 to 1918.

“In Flander’s Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row by row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.”

( In Flander’s Fields, a poem written by Dr. John McCrae and set to music by John Philip Sousa)

Ten million military personnel and seven million civilians were killed, many more wounded and traumatized.  Those who came home were known as the “lost generation.”

Four million men and women served from July, 1917 to November 11,1918  from the United States. 117,465 military personnel died and another 204,002 were wounded

At the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of 1918, an armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany.  Armistice Day or Remembrance Day is better known as Veterans Day in the United States.

Beginning March 12, 2014, organizations in the United States and across the globe will coordinate events and activities to Commemorate the Centennial of World War I.   In the United States, events and activities are being planned under the leadership of Robert J. Dalessandro to begin in 2017 and continuing through 2018.  Mr. Dalessandro’s goals:  Raise awareness and encourage organizations across the spectrum to plan and develop an educational program directed at America’s youth.  Robert Dalessandro states we are still seeing the effects of World War I. The nation needs to learn the lessons and to commemorate the time and events of World War I.