Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee Meeting


Old State House

Members Present

Mark Christ - Designee, Department of Arkansas Heritage
Dr. Raymond (Ray) Screws - Director, Arkansas National Guard Museum
Dr. Lisa Speer – Arkansas State Historian
Zach Lehr for Lt. Col. Joel Lynch - Public Affairs Officer, Arkansas National Guard
Angela Kubaiko – Administrative Analyst

Members Absent

Peter MacKeith - Dean, Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, University of Arkansas
Major General Mark Berry – Adjutant General, Arkansas National Guard; Director, Military Dept. of Arkansas
Lt. Col. Ken Griffin (Retired) – Military and Veterans Affairs Liaison, Office of the Governor
Dr. Shawn Fisher – Professor of History, Harding University
Sarah Jones – Designee, Arkansas Department of Veteran’s Affairs


Melissa Whitfield – Communications Director, Department of Arkansas Heritage
Georganne Sisco – Education Director, Old State House Museum
Carolyn Ashcraft – Arkansas State Library
Elizabeth Hill – Arkansas Women’s History Institute
Dave Bowling – Arkansas Forestry Commission
Laura Leger – American Legion
Jake Sandlin – Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Patti Erwin – Urban Forestry Coordinator, Arkansas Forestry Commission
Jack Schnedler – Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Retired)

The meeting was called to order by Dr. Screws at 9:35 a.m.


Dr. Screws asks all of the guests to introduce themselves.


Approval of Minutes


Dr. Screws asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the November 2, 2016, meeting. Dr. Speer made a motion to approve the minutes.The motion was seconded by Mr. Christ.A vote was taken, all approved the motion.No one opposed.The motion was passed to approve the minutes of the January 11, 2017, minutes.


Report on Lesson Plans Subcommittee


Dr. Screws reports that they have planned a teacher workshop with University of Central Arkansas for June 28-June 30, 2017, to be held at Arkansas National Guard Museum inside Camp Robinson. There are currently plans to incorporate visits to the Old State House and MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History.

They are hoping to host between 15-25 teachers as well as incorporate History Day into the planning.The objective is to create WWI lesson plans that can be used all over the state and can be accessed on the Arkansas WWI website.

Dr. Screws calls on Ms. Whitfield to report on Arkansas Heritage Month.

Discussion of Arkansas Heritage Month

Ms. Whitfield reports that plans are still being finalized for the month of May.Ms. Whitfield reports all of the events fitting the theme will be advertised on the Department of Arkansas Heritage website.Ms. Whitfield states that Department of Arkansas Heritage will help to promote the grantees that were awarded funds out of a $50,000 pool to develop a program that follows the theme: A State of War: Arkansas Remembers WWI.

On April 26, 27, and 28 Department of Arkansas Heritage will go around the state to help promote regional events.They will go to a variety of places including Batesville and the Old Independence Regional Museum.Department of Arkansas Heritage will also produce a free commemorative poster.The poster is a picture of doughboys from Logan County lined up in their uniforms.

Mr. Christ lets the committee know the Arkansas WWI website will also promote the May Heritage month events as well.

Dr. Screws calls on Mr. Lehr to report on the Broadway Bridge dedication.

Discussion of Broadway Bridge Dedication

Mr. Lehr reports the dedication will be on April 6, 2017, at 4 p.m.The dedication will not close the bridge and will take place on the southwest part of the Dickey-Stephens parking lot.It’s also the first night of the Travelers season.The bridge will be re-dedication to Veterans of All Wars.There will also be a ribbon-cutting ceremony dedicating the bridge.

Dr. Screws calls on Ms. Sisco to report on the kick-off event.

Discussion of Kick-off Event

Ms. Sisco reports everyone is excited for the April 8, 2017, event.Mr. Christ reports on the speaker ceremony during the event.Mr. Christ reports at 10:30 a.m. that the Governor will make official comments to officially kick off the WWI Centennial.Bill Gatewood, director of The Old State House, will make some initial comments and introduce Stacy Hurst, director of Department of Arkansas Heritage, who will then introduce the Governor.

Ms. Sisco reports that the first musical group will perform at 11 a.m. and one at 1 p.m. on the front steps.There will be various stations on the lawn as well as 7-10 living history interpreters.They will include WWI soldiers, both artillery and infantry, as well as Red Cross nurses.There will be Willingness to Serve Campaign and bandage rolling.There will also be education about the Home Extension Service and how the Suffrage movement helped with the war effort.There will also be hands-on activities.It is free and will run from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

If the weather is bad everything can move inside.

Mr. Christ reports that the Old State House will host two symposia on WWI.Arkansas in WWI in October 2017 and one in 2018.Mr. Christ hopes to publish the proceedings of both symposiums.

Dr. Screws reports that National Guard Museum will host 3 public programs in June, July, and August of 2017.They will commemorate both WWI and the Centennial of Camp Pike.

Dr. Fisher will speak on an Overview of WWI, Dr. Screws will speak on the History of Camp Pike, and Colonel Damon Cluck will speak on the Involvement of Arkansas National Guard in WWI.

Dr. Screws calls on the Forestry Commission to report on the Memorial Tree Project.

Memorial Tree Project

Mr. Bowling reports that The Forestry Commission has a number of programs: Firefighting, forest management, and help landowners produce timber for profit, wildlife or aesthetics.

Ms. Erwin is involved in multiple programs such as Tree City USA, shade trees for playgrounds and is a certified arborist.

Mr. Bowling works in tree improvement.He works on finding the best quality of seedlings and is responsible for the nursery where they raise the seedlings.They grow around 6 million hardwood seedlings per year.In 2017 they sold out of everything.However, one of the customers heard about what the WWI committee is doing and wanted to donate 100 Northern Red Oak that could be potted and grown out a bit for the ceremony.Mr. Bowling estimates that the trees will be around 3 feet tall by the summer.Mr. Bowling lets the committee know they can drop them off in a centralized location.

Mr. Christ lets the committee know about Mr. Joe Fox in the Forestry Commission was Mr. Christ’s contact.When asked if they wanted to partner, Mr. Fox was enthusiastic since his grandfather was a WWI veteran.He told the story of how his great-grandfather was a Civil War cavalryman who was killed in the Battle of Yellow Tavern in Virginia.His Grandfather was assigned to a Michigan National Guard outfit as an officer and it was the same outfit his great-grandfather died fighting in the Civil War.His grandfather said he had the chance to bury the “bloody shirt.”

Dr. Fisher had previously suggested getting dirt from a WWI battlefield in Europe and using some of the dirt to plant with each of the trees.Ms. Hurst is working with the State Agricultural Department to help make this happen.

New Business/Public Input

Mr. Christ points out that the AAA Travelers magazine has a feature mention of the AR WWI Committee in it.

Ms. Ashcraft mentions that the Arkansas State Library is working on a WWI poster with book recommendations with various age groups.

Dr. Screws mentions that Camp Robinson has a group working on a centennial event commemorating Camp Pike.It will be one day in September.It will be a modified version of the old Minuteman days that is open to the public.

Schedule Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, at MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History in Little Rock.It will begin at 9:30 a.m.


Dr. Fisher asks for a motion to adjourn.Dr. Speer makes a motion and Mr. Lehr seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at 10:16 a.m.