Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee Meeting


Tower Building Little Rock, Arkansas

Members Present

Mark Christ - Designee, Department of Arkansas Heritage
Dr. Raymond (Ray) Screws - Director, Arkansas National Guard Museum
Dr. Lisa Speer - Arkansas State Historian
Sarah Jones - Designee, Arkansas Department of Veteran's Affairs
Lt. Col. Joel Lynch - Public Affairs Officer, Arkansas National Guard
Peter MacKeith - Dean, Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, University of Arkansas
Retired Lt. Col. Ken Griffin - Military and Veterans Affairs Liaison, Office of the Governor
Dr. Shawn Fisher- Professor of History, Harding University
Stacy Hurst - Director, Department of Arkansas Heritage
Angela Kubaiko - Administrative Analyst

Members Absent

Major General Mark Berry - Adjutant General, Arkansas National Guard; Director, Military
Dept. of Arkansas


Jake Sandlin - Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Sarah Wells - Digital & Social Media Specialist, Department of Arkansas Heritage


The meeting was called to order by Ms. Hurst at 9:37 a.m.

Ms. Hurst asked all of the committee members to introduce themselves.

Overview of Executive Order and Mission

Ms. Hurst also outlined the duties of the committee members as stated in the governor's proclamation over the next two years. The following is text of the Governor's Proclamation:




EO 16-05



WHERAS: The Governor seeks to ensure a suitable statewide observance of the centennial of World War I and to cooperate and assist national, state, and local organizations with programs and activities su itable for the centennial observance; and

WHERAS: During 2014 until 2018, the worldly nations who participated in World War I have and will commemorate the centennial of World War I; and

WHEREAS: In 1917, the United States formally declared its entry into World War I, and its centennial celebration will be during the years of 2017 and 2018; and

WHERAS: Over 71,000 soldiers from Arkansas served the United States during World War I; and

WHERAS: The Governor seeks to commemorate, preserve, and honor the courage, sacrifice, and valiant efforts of all Arkansans who served in World War I.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, ASA HUTCHINSON, acting under the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Arkansas, do hereby order the following:

1. There is hereby created the World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee (the "Committee"), which shall serve as the coordinator of events, projects, and memorials celebrating the World War I Centennial in the State of Arkansas during the years of 2017 and 2018.

2. The Committee shall be composed of nine members, who will all serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The appointments shall be made within six weeks of the effective date of this Executive Order. The Committee shall be composed of:

a. The Director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, or a designee from the Department;

b. A representative of the Arkansas National Guard Museum;

c. The Arkansas State Historian;

d. The Director of the Arkansas Department of Veteran's Affairs, or a designee from the Department;

e. A representative of the Arkansas National Guard;

f. The Dean of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas, or a designee from the School; and

g. Three at-large appointees selected by the Governor.

3. The members of the Committee shall have the following duties:

a. To plan, develop and carry out programs and activities appropriate to commemorate the centennial of World War I and to encourage development of programs that ensure that the commemoration results in a positive legacy and has long-term benefits; To encourage interdisciplinary examination of World War I;

b. To facilitate World War I-related activities throughout the state;

c. To encourage-civic, historical, educational, economic, and other organizations across the state to organize and participate in activities to expand the understanding and appreciation of the significance of World War I;

d. To coordinate and facilitate the public distribution of scholarly research, publication and interpretation of World War I; and

e. To provide technical assistance to local organizations and nonprofit organizations to further the commemoration of the centennial of World War I.

4. All events, activities, and projects of the Committee shall be completed during the years of 2017 and 2018. The committee shall cease to exist and expire on December 31, 2018.

This executive order shall become effective upon its signing, and it shall remain in full force and effect until amended or rescinded by further executive orders.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Arkansas to be affixed the 3151 day of March, in the year of our Lord 2016.

Asa Hutchinson, Governor


Mark Martin, Secretary of State Ms. Hurst notified the committee that due to Mark Christ's successful experience handling the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, Mr. Christ will be Ms. Hurst's designee. Mr. Christ will serve as the administrator of the committee.

Ms. Hurst asks Mr. Christ to outline the success of the Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.

The Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission was created by a 2007 Legislature act. The Commission had four years to plan. It was a grassroots effort. The Commission sanctioned events that were held in the state between 201 1 and 2015, created a traveling exhibit that is still in use, and a historical marker program that created 144 markers with at least one in all 75 counties. This was one of the core goals.

The commission promoted an impressive amount of scholarship on the Civil War in Arkansas.

Its list is included in the final report for the Commission.

It was promoted as a heritage tourism effort. The Commission sanctioned more than 770 events

with at least 375,000 attendees. It also had a passport program that included 23 places around

the state to get a stamp and a prize ( coin or patch) when the passport was completed.

Ms. Hurst envisions a similar process for the World War I Centennial Commemoration

Committee. The mission of the committee is to commemorate the war, its effect on Arkansas, and the role of Arkansans in the war during a two year period across the state. An effort should be made to work outside of Little Rock as much as possible.

The committee needs to be mindful of the World War I memorial in Washington D.C., but it is a separate effort. Collaboration is appropriate because an Arkansan will design it.

Ms. Hurst suggests electing officers in today's meeting. The committee will elect a chairman and a vice-chairman. The Chairman will run the meetings and be the face of the committee.

When absent, the vice-chairman will step in.

Ms. Hurst asks Dr. Fisher to serve as chairman of the committee. Dr. Fisher agrees, but informs the committee he will be teaching abroad in Italy in the spring of 2017 from approximately

January 20 until the end of May.

Ms. Hurst made a motion to nominate Dr. Fisher as Chairman of the World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee. The motion was seconded by Mr. Griffin. A vote was taken, all approved the motion. No one opposed. The motion was passed.

Ms. Hurst made a motion to nominate Dr. Screws as Vice-chairman of the World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee. The motion was seconded by Dr. Fisher. A vote was taken, all approved the motion. No one opposed. The motion was passed.

Preliminary Work on Website

Mr. Christ envisions a similar layout to the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission website. It will have an About Us section which will include the committee members and the governor's proclamation.

A Sites page to direct people to visit in Arkansas and would include Camp Pike, Fort Roots, The National Guard Museum, and other museums that have World War I related exhibits. It can include the Rush Historic District where zinc was mined during World War I.

An Events section would encourage citizens to host exhibits and events.

A Research and Education would include a timeline of World War I in Arkansas. A bibliography is already being compiled with information already published. Mr. Christ will send this information to the committee before the next meeting.

Mr. Christ would like to a have a list of the Arkansas units that served in World War I. Mr. Christ asked Dr. Screws for help with this goal for the National Guard units. There are already some lesson plans and Mr. Christ anticipates more being written.

A list and photographs of all the World War I memorials in the state is in process. There are several sculptural pieces, but most county courthouses will have a marker on the lawn.

Section relaying information about the National World War I memorial with a link to their site.

A Links page that links to all kinds of stuff that's World War I related.

Dr. Screws mentions Major Anderson has his Grandfather's World War I uniform and it is amazmg.

Mr. MacKeith lets the committee know the proposed dedication date for the National World War I memorial is Armistice Day in November 2018. Mr. MacKeith estimates the amount of money needed to be raised to be between 30 and 45 million dollars. However, the design is slowing making its way through the Washington, D.C., city, congressional, historic district, and park approvals process.

Ms. Hurst suggests a spot on the website to stay on top of the progress of the memorial.

Mr. MacKeith states Joe Weishaar, the designer of the WWI memorial, credits his time growing up in Arkansas with his success. This gives Mr. Weishaar opportunities to keep returning to Arkansas by going to elementary, middle and high schools by telling the story of the memorial and its design as well as encouraging people to think more about the events of WWI and the impact of memorials in their lives. Mr. Weishaar is very willing to speak at events and return here regularly. The value ofremembering these events are important. Mr. Weishaar recently spoke at his former middle school in Northwest Arkansas to a packed auditorium. The value of a 20-something speaking to younger students is very valuable.

Ms. Hurst suggests a place on the website with Mr. Weishaar's contact information in order to schedule appearances at schools.

Ms. Hurst also suggests video of Mr. Weishaar speaking to place on the website as well as the

Governor's event announcing the unveiling of the memorial design and WWI Centennial


Mr. Mac Keith suggests some video material of Mr. Weishaar may already be available.

Mr. Christ states a social media presence of the WWI Committee will be happening.

Dr. Screws suggests a video of the Governor, a congressman, and a Senator stating the importance of commemorating the importance of the Centennial of WWI.

Dr. Fisher suggests the governor talking about receiving the service records of his Grandfather's service in WWI. He could also provide pictures and a story.

Ms. Wells states the website design is dependent on the budget. Ms. Sewell states that it's possible for the WWI site to be a little more dynamic.

Dr. Screws states he has many photos of Camp Pike being built. The photos come with handwritten cards that are not always legible. He will check on the licensing of these photos.

Mr. Christ states a photo page is a good idea for the site with some from the History Commission and the Butler Center. It includes some photos for Eberts Field, which was used as a flying school during WWI.

Mr. Griffin suggests having the next meeting at the National Guard Museum. Dr. Screws agrees.

Dr. Screws states that everyone bring their driver's license, car registration, and car insurance to receive a pass.

Dr. Fisher suggests a section on women and minorities in WWI in Arkansas.

Mr. Christ states both the Main Street and Broadway bridges in Little Rock were dedicated as WWI memorials. The memorial section of the Broadway Bridge is now behind the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, which currently has a display of WWI posters. There are Doughboys in Fort Smith, Helena, Jonesboro, and Melbourne in Izard County. There is not a single state-dedicated memorial. The Old State House was saved by becoming the state war memorial after WWI.

Dr. Speer asks if it will be an unvarnished look at WWI of the difficulties of German Americans in Arkansas, the racial tensions of American soldiers coming back after WWI. Mr. Christ agrees. Dr. Screws suggests the flu epidemic. Mr. Christ suggests the Cleburne County Draft War.

Ms. Hurst suggests the mission of the WWI committee should be to tell the story. Dr. Screws suggests the Elaine Race Riots told a story about how the Army worked by the event itself unfolding. The Governor called out the Army from Camp Pike, which Dr. Screws found odd that he did not call out the National Guard. Colonial Cluck let Dr. Screws know that due to past military processing being different for mustering troops, the governor didn't really have a mNational Guard in peace time.

Dr. Fisher also lets the committee know that 2016 is the 1001th Anniversary of the ROTC.

Ms. Hurst lets the committee know the WWI committee budget will be worked into the Department of Arkansas Heritage budget for Fiscal Year 2017 that begins on July 1, 2016. It will be modest, but lets them know she can check with the Governor for Fiscal Year 201 7 for any discretionary money Governor Hutchinson can devote.

The website will be funded by the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Ms. Hurst also asks all committee members if they have any modest amount of money for research, advertising, or promotion from their organization to devote it would be greatly appreciated.

Ms. Hurst asks Mr. Christ about the funding for the Civil War Commission.

Mr. Christ tells the committee that all of the money was GIF money. Mr. Christ states the first four years the commission had no money. During the actual Sesquicentennial, the commission received around 300,000. Around 1/3 of the money paid for the Administrative support position. The rest went to grant funding as well as historical marker matching funds.

Mr. MacKeith throws around the idea of an official state WWI memorial that could parallel what's going on at the national level. He could reach out to the Arkansas AIA, Arkansas ASLA, or the Interior Design Association to see if they would be interested in joining forces even on a speculative project. This could create interest from children to adults. The Vietnam Memorial was open to everyone to submit.

Schedule Next Meeting

Ms. Hurst asks the committee how often they should meet. Mr. Christ states that the Civil War Commission met once a month at first.

All the committee members agree on once a month meetings.

Dr. Screws agrees on Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. until the Fall of 2016. Then the committee can then move the meeting to Tuesdays in the fall. Everyone agrees.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday, May 25, 2015 at the National Guard Museum in Camp Robinson in North Little Rock. It will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Discussion of agenda items for next meeting

Mr. Christ asks for input for the official WWI committee logo. Mr. Christ states the doughboy is the iconic WWI image. Mr. Griffin thinks we should start there. The committee should also be mindful of copyright issues.

Mr. MacKeith states that the evolution of soldiers is important. The helmet used in WWI is very

distinctive yet generic and would not infringe on any copyrights.

Mr. Griffin states the design of the Governor's logo took months. His advice is to keep it simple and basic. He also suggests colors add costs to the logo. He suggests a Dough Boy with the backdrop of the Arkansas flag with 100 year centennial for the logo.

Ms. Wells suggests being a bit more creative and outside the box with the designs she will msubmit for approval.

Dr. Speer suggests the service flags that mother's hung to denote how many sons she had in the war.

Mr. Lynch suggests incorporating a biplane design.

Ms. Hurst asks Mr. Christ about developing a sanctioning process for events.

Dr. Fisher suggests a Speakers Bureau for the website similar to the Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission website.

Mr. Christ suggests the committee members visit the official Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission website to see if they would like to incorporate anything else for the WWI website not previously discussed. The website:

Dr. Screws suggests possible partnerships with places such as the MacArthur Museum ofMilitary History.

Ms. Hurst encourages any of the committee members that remember something or get an idea forthe committee to reach out to the committee.