April 6. 2017 is the 100th Anniversary of U.S. entry into World War I. The  date also marks the official start of the 2017-2019 U.S. World I Centennial Commemoration period (U.S. Declaration of War through Treaty of Versailles). Wondering what your organization, group, or community can do to recognize the role of Texas and Texans in the Great War? Here’s a few easy off-the-shelf ideas.

History Display

Concept: Get a display about WWI into your community.

Partner with local municipality, public library, city hall, or county courthouse to establish a display of historical artifacts and information pertaining to local WWI veterans and activities in the community during the Great War period. Fort Worth has pioneers an exhibit that can serve as a model for coordination between local archives, libraries and interested citizens to product a local exhibit.

Target date or time period: April 2017 – April 2019

Partner suggestions: local historians, newspaper archives, genealogist, educators, subject matter experts, libraries, etc. A resource guide on establishing a display is available through the National WWICC. Contact Texas WWICC volunteer Dawn Youngblood at (Tarrant County Archivist) for information on the Tarrant County initiative.

Arts Outreach

Concept: Draw people in with the arts.

The period around the Great War was a time of great change in the arts. Connect with local arts leaders to produce public exhibits or presentations. The interest in the period – and the addition publicity provided by Texas WWICC channels – can help draw new audiences to art exhibits, poetry readings, literature, film festivals, photography, theater productions, etc.

Target date or time period: April 2017 – April 2019

Partner suggestions: Local arts community leaders and organizations. These groups typically plan exhibits, productions, and presentations 12-18 months in advance. Begin the conversation early about possible exhibits. Partners my also include government, civic, or business leaders who may provide venues for art or photography displays.

Identify Local WWI Service Members and Notables

Concept: A basic first step that can support other follow-on activities.

This includes 1) all who served from the specific municipality or county 2) those who died in the service (killed in action, died of wounds, accident, disease, etc.) 3) servicemen who were connected with a specific act of valor, and who later achieved notoriety (e.g., Dwight Eisenhower) and 4) local civilians involved with war-time activities (Red Cross, civic groups, nurses, aviation training, etc.).

Target date or time period: Now through start of the centennial period (April 6, 2017)

Partner suggestions/resources: Texas Military Forces Museum archive of Texans serving in war (available online), city/county records & archives, local cemeteries, newspaper archives, other genealogical resources.

Identify and mark WWI service member graves

Concept: Recognize the service.

Identify graves in advance of state-wide commemoration on 11/11/18. Graves to be marked with American flag and WWI Centennial flag on 100th anniversary of the end of WWI. State WWICC will provide information on cost and ordering of flags in advance of 11/11/18. Local funds or fundraising effort may be needed to pay for flags (see Poppy Seeds).

Target date or time period: Mark on November 11, 2018 and/or their date of death.

Partner suggestions/resources: Texas Military Forces Museum archive of Texans serving in war (available online), County death records, local cemeteries, newspaper archives, other genealogical resources. WWICC is also partnering with HistoryPin. HistoryPin is a work-in-progress online app that will allows individuals to “pin” the geographic location and upload a photo of graves, monuments, etc. All Texas counties have been added as “collections.”  The main collection is called “Texas WWI Veterans” and can be found at:,-0.113656,4/bounds/35.386121,-18.087289,63.350518,17.859977

New Historical Markers

Concept: Recognize local historical locations that merit historic recognition.

A formal process for historic marker is administered by the Texas Historical Commission. The Texas WWICC can also provide information on graphic/interpretation historic markers available for $300-$500.

Target date or time period: April 2017 – April 2019

Partner suggestions: local municipal, civic, business, and veteran organizations.

Plant Poppies

Concept: Draw attention to the commemoration and your organization. Poppies have long been identified with veterans and World War I: they were the first flowers to bloom on the fields in France, despite the devastation of the landscape. Seeds packets can be ordered through the TX WWICC and seed packets can be purchased in bulk. Packets come with the WWICC logo and space to print or stamp your local organization’s information. The seeds can be used for a variety of programs. 1) provided to school or other as an independent outreach effort for planting and cultivation as a commemoration activity 2) to sell as a fundraising effort to pay for flags used to mark WWI veteran graves on 11/11/18, 3) restoration of local WWI monuments, for other WWICC projects of your choosing.

Target date or time period: now through April 2019.

Partner suggestions: Schools/ISDs, youth organizations, garden clubs, local municipal officials, etc. Contact the Texas WWICC for ordering information.

Document WWI Memorials

Concept: Recognize the existing community commemoration.

Many counties and municipalities have existing markers or monuments related to acknowledging local military service members, service members killed in action, or historical locations significant to the WWI effort. The World War I Memorial Inventory Project ( is part of the National WWI Centennial Commemoration. Their goal is to creating a master registry of WWI monuments around the U.S. In Texas, WWICC volunteer Randy Gilbert has established a list of these monuments and can be reached at

Restoring or rededicating existing memorials can be highlighted with local media and various local stake holders.

Target date or time period: now through April 2019.

Partner suggestions: Local municipal leaders/elected officials, veterans groups, military organizations, local media. New markers: contact TX WWICC for informational plaque ordering ideas and contacts. Texas WWICC monument coordinator Randy Gilbert at

Public Education Outreach

Concept: Help schoolchildren learn more about WWI—and leverage schools to do it.

Establish contact with local schools and ISD. Department heads in History and Social Studies may be you best contacts. Encourage opportunities for local students to learn about the role of Texas and Texans in WWI. World War I is taught during 7th grade (TEKS standard) and in the high school World History curriculum and Advanced Placement (AP) History Studies. This could include using local veterans identified in previous research as personalities to be studied as “local connections” to the story of WWI. Local personalities may extend to civilians who were association with actions and community service during the War (such as local Victory Garden efforts, the role of women during the period, local ethnic groups and minorities during the period, etc.). Free curriculum resources and student outlines are available through the National WWICC, TSHA.

Target date or time period: April 2017 – April 2019

Partner suggestions: Use local newspaper archives, libraries, and County Historical Commissions for local research and information. School initiative could also dovetail with National History Day ( Contact Texas WWICC education advisor Amy Jo Baker at for additional suggestion on working with local educators.

Higher Education Outreach

Concept: Encourage the academic study of WWI.

Reach out to colleges and universities in your area. Discuss opportunities for collaboration between community organizations and the academic institution for WWI centennial commemoration events. Institutions in existence at the time of the Great War may have archived and memorials related to their alumni who served or were killed in the war. Connect with History Department faculty and leaders to explore opportunities for history symposiums or local Public History initiatives that students may become involved with. English, Theater, Film, Art, and Communications are other academic focus areas that may also be fruitful (see Arts Outreach).

Target date or time period: April 2017 – April 2019

Partner suggestions: Academic departments, administration, student newspapers, academic libraries, student organizations (veterans’ clubs, academic focus areas, etc.).





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