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Centennial of end of WWI to be marked in ND

The centennial of the end of WWI is fast approaching. There will be major events related to the end of World War I across the state beginning the end of September and seminars will be sponsored in the major cities across the state.

Darrell Dorgan, WWI North Dakota Centennial chairman, said the public is encouraged to take part in scheduled events.

"We originated the idea of having bells toll and sirens ring on the morning of Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. across the nation and state," Dorgan said. "The National WWI Centennial Commission is now asking all states to participate. We are asking communities across North Dakota to be involved in this tribute by ringing bells and sounding sirens the morning of Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. Details on the event will be released shortly."

North Dakota WWI committee members have also formally requested that County Veterans Services officers work with local veterans organizations to read the names of the more than 1,300 North Dakotans who died in WWI, most in the last six months of the war in the trenches of France. The committee has requested the names of those who died be read aloud from the steps of the county courthouse or a place of public gathering, in their county of residence, when the bells are done tolling.

Groups that have events planned to commemorate WWI are also asked to contact the WWI Centennial website so the events can be listed. The website manager is Mike Gayette at Gayette@gmail.com, and the website is ww1cc.org/nd.

Also on the website, a list of those who died during the "War to End All Wars" will be posted in mid-September and those who perished in the fight for freedom will be listed by county and city. The updated list has been compiled by noted historian Barbara Handy-Marcello.

The North Dakota WWI Centennial Committee has also received support from the North Dakota Humanities Council for a series of community events leading up to the armistice ending WWI, 100-years ago on Nov. 11. Lectures and community discussions will be in six cities during October and the first week of November including Jamestown. Susan Wefald or Darrell Dorgan will moderate each of the events. The programs will begin with a 10-minute video overview of WWI, followed by a 20- to 30-minute talk about how the war began, how the U.S. became involved, the effort on the home-front, North Dakota's participation and the impact on the world today. That will be followed by 30 minutes of audience Q & A.

The event in Jamestown will be at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at the 1883 Stutsman County Courthouse with professor Carol Barrett conducting the event.

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