FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 3, 2017) – Governor Bevin has designated April 6, 2017 as World War I Centennial Day in Kentucky. One hundred years ago, the United States declared war against Germany’s Imperial Army and entered the battles of World War I.
The proclamation officially begins more than two years of events to commemorate the Great War and the thousands of Kentuckians who sacrificed to help bring the terrible carnage to an end.
“One hundred years have passed since the United States entered the war that was expected to end all wars. While that has sadly not been the case, the liberty of billions hung in the balance” said Gov. Bevin. “The Kentuckians who bravely fought to protect and defend the fate of the free world during World War I may no longer be with us, but the legacy they left behind cannot be forgotten. We are thankful for their sacrifice, and proudly honor their memory.”
In his proclamation, Gov. Bevin noted that Kentucky was chosen as the site of one of only sixteen World War 1 cantonments. Camp Zachary Taylor in Louisville, where more than 150,000 men were trained for service in World War 1, was one of these.
Two men with Kentucky backgrounds were awarded the Medal of Honor for valorous service in World War 1: Captain Samuel Woodfall of Fort Thomas, Ky. and Sergeant Willie Sandlin of Buckhorn, Ky. When General Pershing was asked to name the most gallant among all of America’s heroes of the Great War, Captain Woodfall was among his selections.
And at least six men from Kentucky served in the legendary U.S. Army unit nicknamed the Harlem Hellfighters and were awarded the Croix de Guerre by the Government of France for their valorous service in World War 1: Private Bert Beckham, Private Robert Wooten, Private Bradley Logan and Private Ionia Harris, all of Shelbyville, Private Leonard Todd of Finchville, and Private John Ray Carter of Anderson County.
Kentucky established a 26-member committee to assist with the Centennial Commemoration from April 5, 2017 to the Summer of 2019. The members include representatives of historical societies, education, the arts and the military.
Many non-profit museums, organizations and other groups will be holding events throughout the next ten years to commemorate the Centennial. You can find more information at http://veterans.ky.gov/otherprograms/Pages/World-War-I-Commemoration.aspx