It was a big honor for me last month to be the volunteer coordinator for World War I History Day at Governors Island National Monument. I was knocked out when the National Park Service counted more than 12,000 visitors engaged with us for the day. It was such a hit that we are going to return, with a two-day schedule, on September 16-17, 2017.
The first “Doughboy Day at Fort Jay” was launched to prepare for the centennial of American involvement in the “Great War” next year. We had about 20 living history participants in period uniforms.
Those I want to thank include Jim Lennon and Jim Michaud of the Long Island Living History Association, military historians whose main purpose is to educate the public on all wars America has participated in. The Ebony Doughboys a group of African American living historians who are focused on telling the story of the outstanding record of service of African Americans during the First World War. “Eugene Bullard, America’s first black fighter pilot” was a one-act play by Henry Sheeran and performed by actor Chadd Gray that was brought to the island by the Ebony Doughboys.
Mark D. Van Ells, author of “America and World War I: A Traveler’s Guide.” Actress Laurie Gaulke represented women in the war with her show, “Doughnuts for Doughboys: A Salvation Army Lassie in Neuvilly.” Randy Gaulke of the World War One Historical Association brought artifacts from the war and presented a guided tour of their meaning.
A highlight was George King III and his replica 1916 Model-T Ford American Field Service ambulance. It was amazing to see it on the island.
The supporting organizations:
Governors Island National Monument manages 22 acres containing Fort Jay and Castle Williams. The U.S. National Park Service provides education and historic interpretation of the island.
World War One Centennial Committee for New York City is dedicated to planning, producing, and coordinating events and activities commemorating the First World War in New York City and the surrounding areas.
U.S. World War One Centennial Commission was created by Congress in 2013 to provide public outreach, education programs, and commemorative events for American involvement in World War I. The Commission was also authorized to build the new National World War I Memorial in Washington DC.
Photo gallery 1 (photos by Don M. Spiro)
Photo gallery 2 (photos by Kevin Fitzpatrick)