Cecilia “Cece” Otto is a classically-trained singer and composer originally from Minnesota. In 2013 she started An American Songline, in her words “an ongoing project dedicated to preserving and sharing the story of America through unique, experiential musical performances”. The website says “these performances entertain, educate and delight thanks to Cece’s unique ability to engage modern audiences with the songs and stories of a simpler time.”
Only the British and the Americans attempted to keep track of the number of their missing, and the official counts are still changing as the remains of fallen soldiers are regularly found in the areas of France and Belgium that were the battle grounds of the Western Front. Every now and then an American soldier is found, particularly in the Meuse Argonne.
In August, 2017 I posted that the U.S. World War 1 Centennial Commission was seeking ideas for suitable inscriptions on the reverse side of the proposed memorial in Pershing Park. You can read that article by clicking here.
My personal favorite quote is “Retreat? Hell, we just got here.” – Capt. Lloyd Williams, 51st Co. 5th Marines, on June 2nd 1918 at Belleau Wood. Nine days later Williams was killed in the same action. You can read all about Capt. Williams here.
The National Football League (NFL) has donated $1 million to the U.S. WW1 Centennial Committee towards the cost of the proposed WW1 memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC. With this gift, the NFL honors the memory of its founders, many of whom were WW1 veterans. You can read more here. Other lead contributors to the memorial project include The Pritzker Military Museum and Library, The Starr Foundation, General Motors, Walmart, the major defense contractors Huntington Ingalls and United Technologies, Federal Express, several other foundations and the Pershing family.
At the February 7th meeting of The National Capitol Planning Commission, preliminary approval was given for the current design for this project. Final approval is expected in about three months. The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission still needs to raise about $20 million towards the estimated cost to build. You can learn more at this link.
‘Lidar (also called LIDAR, LiDAR, and LADAR) is a surveying method that measures distance to a target by illuminating the target with pulsed laser light and measuring the reflected pulses with a sensor. Differences in laser return times and wavelengths can then be used to make digital 3-D representations of the target. The name lidar, now used as an acronym of light detection and ranging (sometimes light imaging, detection, and ranging), was originally a portmanteau of light and radar.’ From Wikipedia.
In October 1918, under increasing military pressure on all fronts, Germany seeks an end to the fighting. The new German Chancellor, Prince Maximilian of Baden, sends President Wilson a public note requesting peace negotiations on the basis of the Fourteen Points and the “five particulars” set forth in his recent speech in New York. Further exchanges culminate in an American demand for submission to Allied military supremacy, cessation of “illegal and inhumane practices” such as submarine attacks on passenger ships, and regime change in Germany. When Generals Hindenburg and Ludendorff threaten to resign if Wilson’s conditions are accepted, the Kaiser accepts Ludendorff’s resignation but orders Hindenburg to remain. The Allies’ general offensive on the Western Front succeeds in seizing Cambrai and driving the Germans from the Hindenburg Line, while to the south the American Army begins the second phase of the Meuse-Argonne offensive. The “lost battalion” is cut off by the Germans in the Argonne Forest and Corporal Alvin York earns the Medal of Honor by leading an attack on a German machine-gun emplacement. The Austro-Hungarian Empire rapidly disintegrates as a republic is proclaimed in Vienna and as Hungary, Czechoslovakia and other nations in central Europe declare their independence. In the Near East, the Egyptian Expeditionary Force captures Damascus and Aleppo, leading to an armistice between the Ottoman Empire and Great Britain. The German High Seas Fleet is ordered to sea for a final battle, but when crews begin to refuse orders the operation is cancelled and the Dreadnought squadrons are dispersed. In the United States, the proposed Woman Suffrage Amendment to the Constitution fails in the Senate. As mid-term Congressional elections draw near, President Wilson begs Americans to elect a Democratic Congress.
In September 1918 the Allies are on the offensive on every front. British and Belgian troops attack the Ypres salient and recapture Passchendaele. To the south, the American Expeditionary Force under the command of General John J. Pershing clears the St. Mihiel salient, and then turns north to attack along the River Meuse and through the Argonne Forest. Launching the Fourth Liberty Bond drive with a speech in New York City, President Wilson calls for a “secure and lasting peace” enforced by a League of Nations. He sets forth five “particulars” designed to achieve that goal, representing his view of “this government’s own duty with regard to peace.” Three days later he goes before the Senate and asks it to approve the proposed woman suffrage amendment to the Constitution, already approved by the House of Representatives, as a “war measure.” British forces under General Allenby advance in Palestine. Americans join French and British units in the “Polar Bear Expedition,” designed to protect war supplies stockpiled in the Russian Arctic. An Allied offensive in Macedonia leads to an armistice with Bulgaria. Germany and Austria-Hungary are rocked with unrest and protests calling for an end to the war. At month’s end, faced with military defeat and loss of support in the Reichstag, German Chancellor Georg von Hertling is forced to resign. In the United States, the baseball season ends early because of the war. In the World Series, which begins and ends in September for the only time in its history, the Boston Red Sox defeat the Chicago Cubs four games to two. The Red Sox will win their next World Series championship in 2004.
August 1918 marks the beginning of the 100 days offensive that will bring an end to the war on the Western Front. An Allied army under British command mounts a successful offensive east of Amiens. The attack advances up to nine miles the first day, a day General Ludendorff will later call “the black day of the German Army.” As the Allies follow up with a series of frequent attacks at different locations along the front, the Germans fall back to the Hindenburg Line. In a Crown Council at Spa, the leaders of the Central Powers agree that they must seek a negotiated settlement, but only “after the next success in the west.” On the recommendation of his Jewish superior officer, Corporal Adolf Hitler is decorated for bravery. In the United States, outspoken opponents of the draft are sentenced to long prison terms. The Bolshevik revolution in Russia is under intense pressure as British, French and American troops land in Vladivostok on the Pacific coast of Siberia and in Arkhangelsk and Murmansk in the Russian Arctic, and as British forces move north from Persia and India to secure the Baku oil fields and lines of communication in the Caucasus and Turkestan. Lenin makes additional concessions to Germany and barely survives an assassination attempt.