Partners in Commemorating the Great War
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South Texas Planning Meeting Notes

The first South Texas coordination and planning conference was held Thursday, March 3 at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

WWICC Commission Maj. Gen. Alfred Valenzuela spoke at the afternoon session, providing an update on the National effort.

Attendees included representatives from the Texas Historical Commission, Battleship Texas, The Bullock Museum, Institute of Texan Cultures, The Fort Sam Houston Museum, Texas A&M (Cushing Memorial Library) Texas Military Forces Museum, Friends of Fort Clark, Brenham Heritage Museum, University of Texas San Antonio, St. Mary’s University, Brooks City Base, USAF history program representatives, Friends of the Royal Flying Corps, Bexar County Historical Commission, American Legion 20th District, and many others.

Missed the South Texas event? See the website article at for more details on the meeting.
National Goals
Establish State Commemorative Bodies

World War I Memorial Inventory Project

Veterans History Project
THC Chairman John Nau has named an internal task force headed by Commissioner Thomas Hatfield to prepare the THC plan for WWI programs. The plan will be presented at their quarterly meeting in late April. The THC team has actively engaged with some preliminary WWI centennial groundwork effort in the meantime. 

Smith County
by Randy Gilbert

The Smith County Historical Society executive committee will meet in the last week of March to adopt a comprehensive plan for promoting the Centennial that will include a number of programs for interpreting the war’s impact on the county.  This will include a museum exhibit as well as several different activities including the identification of the World War veterans of the county and their burial locations.  At this time, the data base includes nearly 1,500 names of whom 75% have an identified grave.  It is anticipated that the final list will include around 1,700 names. 

The Society and its museum is located in Tyler’s 1904 Carnegie Library.  The auditorium was used by the Red Cross for rolling bandages. 

Negotiations are underway to have Lila Rakoczy’s exhibit on East Texas African Americans in the war to be placed at the East Texas Fair in September 2018.

East Texas
from Iila Rakozcy

Current veterans identified from East Texas: 9,500 (and still growing). When this project started I had twelve in my database!

*  No Man's Land exhibition has confirmed and/or provisional bookings at eight sites so far. There are still a few vacancies in the schedule, however.

*  The first round of funding applications is underway for the exhibition, website, and mobile app. Should know the results of this first round by early June.

*  Money is being sought to create 4-5 historically accurate World War I uniforms for educators to wear at various events over the two-year centennial across East Texas. We are seeking African American male volunteers who might be willing to wear the uniform and engage with visitors, especially schoolchildren, on what life was like in the army and on the home front during the war.  

*  Anyone wanting to assist, whether it is with identifying African American veterans in a particular county, facilitating interviews with African American stakeholders in their communities, hosting the exhibition at their venue in 2018 or early 2019, being an educator at events, or with fund raising is encouraged to contact me at     

Brenham Heritage Museum
by Doug Price

Our first WWICC project has been completed, the re-publishing of "In Memoriam", a book originally published in 1919 by the Washington County Memorial Association. We have printed 50 numbered copies, and have provided a copies to the Liberty Museum in KC and to the IWM London.

Our first WWICC content goes up Apr 25, and covers the Texas Rangers in WWI.  The whole of the exhibit covers the Rangers as a whole, but uses the topic as a vehicle to bring more WWI content into the community. This will be our overall approach over the next three years.

We have acquired the original wheels and chassis of a US Army field cooker.  We will be rebuilding the cooker upon the original chassis for our 2016-2019 exhibition.

We have acquired cannon wheels upon which to mount our French 1897 Model 75mm.

We have begun to accept planned object loans and donations, and have continued to search for a few gaps remaining in the collection. We have recently located a copy of a rare 36th Infantry victory poster we will be digitizing for use in the exhibition.

We have reorganized our annual meeting around a WWI theme. Instead of a sit-down dinner and report, we have elected to turn it into a 1914-1918 potluck. Members of the community can bring period dishes developed from
period recipes to the event. The museum will be serving fare revolving around the recipes that came out of national rationing.

We have completed our museum renovation, a project planned as part of our WWI centennial project.

Below is information on the business award that may be of interest to the WWI Centennial Commission since one of your initiatives is to identify businesses that were in existence during WWI.

If businesses meet the criteria, a certificate is awarded that is signed by that business’s district senator and legislator and the Chair of the Texas Historical Commission. Elected officials are often happy to attend a presentation ceremony if asked. I

t would be a nice way to publicly recognize 100+ year old businesses across the state during 2017-19. The process can take about six months to complete so it would be good if people could start planning and researching now.
Texas Historical Commission’s TEXAS TREASURES BUSINESS AWARD
How to Nominate a Business
Businesses can be nominated for this award by any elected state official or a business representative and must meet the following criteria:
  • Have been in continuous for-profit operation in Texas for at least 50 years.
  • Continue to operate the same or a very similar type of business as it did at least 50 years ago.
  • Have a continuous record of employment for at least the past 50 years.
  • Continue to operate as an independent, for-profit business (i.e., it cannot be operating as a subsidiary of or have been absorbed into another business)
  • Maintain a good business relationship with the state. 
  • This resource page may help you with your research in documenting the business founding date.
Questions?  conatact
April Garner, CTE
State Coordinator, Texas Heritage Tourism Program
Community Heritage Development Division
Texas Historical Commission
1304 Colorado
Austin, Texas 78701

March 2016

With just a little over a year until the start of the centennial period, there is still work to be done to identify new partners, continue collaboration, and formalize keystone events. We are looking toward a summer 2016 state-wide meeting. Date and location have not been finalize, but we are looking at Austin or College Station as two likely locations. We may use Survey Monkey or a similar program in the coming weeks to survey your preferences on date, location, and format. Stay tuned more information.

Texas Outreach Update
  • 130 separate organizations
  • 225 individuals, including volunteers, subject matter experts, authors, and reenactors
  • Diverse range of interests and focus areas
    • 19 State agencies & elected officials
    • 12 Military bases
    • 13 Colleges and universities
    • 4 school districts/public school programs
    • 19 Veteran and civic organizations
    • 16 Historic and professional organizations
    • 12 Unique subject matter experts
    • 16 Local city/county historical and library programs
Have you made contact with other Texans interested in WWI Centennial Commemoration? Pass on their contact information or ask them to email us

Use the button below to share this email with others.

Since 1990, the city of Georgetwon, Texas has held an annual poppy festival.  The seeds that started the poppy fields in the area came from Europe, sent by a Texas WW I soldier.  The 2016 event will be April 22-24.  Click on the logo for more details.
What's Happening in your part of Texas?
What's happening in your county or town?  Share you plans, exhibits, events with everyone.  Drop us a note and we will add it to the website or newsletter.  Click here to SHARE.
New Contacts and Outreach Information Available.
Our contacts and outreach organizations are over 170.  To make it convenient for you to keep up and reach out to others, we have added a spreadsheet to the website.

Under the ABOUT tab, you will find the RESOURCES area. You will need to log in to use this area.  Registering and logging in are simple.  On the bottom right corner of the home page you will find links to: Login, Log Out, and Register. Just click REGISTER and follow the instructions. 

One of the great resources is a list of over 100 people we are in contact with.  Look for it under the RESOURCE section.


Communication is a primary part of our mission. We are here to help draw attention to events, exhibits, and historical stories about Texas and Texans in The Great War. You can keep track of ongoing information about the Texas WWI centennial:

Texas WWI Centennial web site:

Texas WWI Centennial Facebook page:

National WWICC web site:

Email us at if you have information on commemoration events, exhibits or Texas WWI history you would like to highlight on the web site or Facebook page.
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