Centennial News and Updates

July 2018 – Congressman Jones (NC) supports the Stamp Project

In 2015, the Society submitted a proposal for the creation of a series of stamps by the U.S. Postal Service to commemorate the Centennial in Arlington National Cemetery, and the impact that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has had on generations of Americans. This project is still under consideration by the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee.

Last month the Centennial Committee reached out to members of Congress and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, asking for their support on the Stamp Project. We have received many responses, and wanted to share a couple with you:

Letter from Congressman Walter Jones
Letter from the National Rural Letter Carriers Association

The Committee is asking the public to reach out locally to organizations and provide them a copy of our letter for consideration.

June 2018 – Centennial Committee assists with KMBC Chronicle: Known But to God

Back in September 2017 the Society provided support and historical advice to LTC (Retired) Rob Hill of the Kansas City Heartland Men’s Chorus on their production of “We, The Unknown”. As part of this support the Centennial Committee Chairman was interviewed by Matt Flener of KMBC in Kansas City for an hour-long story call “Chronicle: Known But to God”. You can view the story by going to their YouTube by clicking HERE.

June 2018 – TUS100 Committee works with the Grand Chancery of the Legion of Honor

The Centennial Committee is pleased to announce that the Grand Chancery of the Legion of Honor in France will be assisting our Foreign Military Medals project as we bring the history and stories behind the medals presented to the World War I Unknown Soldier during the internment ceremonies on November 11, 1921. They join the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association and the Romanian Embassy in the United States on this project.

June 2018 – National Salute Update

The Centennial Committee has updated the time(s) for this years National Salute to align with Public Law 114-240, dated October 7, 2016 and enacted by the 114th Congress.

The National Salute includes the National Moment of Silence, where we as a nation pause for one minute to reflect on the lives of those who have served and sacrificed before us, followed by one minute of silence to reflect on those that will do so in the future.

Our recommended observance starts with the ringing of bells 21 times (as 3 second intervals), followed by the National Moment of Silence, and concluded with the playing of Taps. Per the law the National Moment of Silence should be planned into your observance beginning at:

3:11 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time;
2:11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time;
1:11 p.m. Central Standard Time;
12:11 p.m. Mountain Standard Time;
11:11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time;
10:11 a.m. Alaska Standard Time; and
09:11 a.m. Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time

This year the Society will be working with the World War I Centennial Commission as they ask the nation to participate in the “Bells of Peace, a World War I Remembrance”, in which our National Salute program has been the foundation of for the last few years.

For more information on how you and your community can participate in the National Salute, click HERE.

May 2018 – Centennial Committee Update

The Committee Chair spent over a week in Washington DC in meetings to talk about the Centennial and how the federal government and civilian agencies can work together in the planning for November 2021 under the NDAA2017.  Organizations contacted included:

  • Naval History and Heritage Command
  • National Museum of the United States Navy
  • American Battle Monuments Commission
  • Senator Tom Cotton
  • National Rural Letter Carriers Association
  • Gold Star Mothers
  • 3d United States Infantry (The Old Guard)
  • United States Capitol Historical Society
  • Military District of Washington – Ceremonies
  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • Military Security Force (Joint Staff)

During the same time, our Historical Aircraft Project Director spent two days with the Maxwell Air Force Base historians, Archie DiFante and Tammy Horton, and was able to obtain digital copies of critical documents surrounding the movement of the Trans-Pacific Candidate from Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines on a Douglas C-54 “Skymaster” to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.  As this project develops we will be reaching out to the USAF crews to get their story on their participation in the transport of the Unknown Soldiers and candidates.

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Past President and one our Society Founders, Richard Azzaro (1963-65), joined author Patrick O’Donnell to talk about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier prior to Memorial Day 2018.  Mr. O’Donnell is the author of “The Unknowns”, a book which focuses on the pall bearers surrounding the World War I Unknown Soldier in 1921.  Mr. O’Donnell will be joining the Society at our reunion in November 2018, where he will talk to our members about his new book.

You can find the link to the audio interview with Richard Azzaro by clicking HERE

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The Society is also pleased to announce that the General Society of the War of 1812 is working with the TUS100 committee on the USPS Postal Stamp Project which is seeking support for a series of postal stamps that will tell the story of the service and sacrifice of Americans on behalf of America in times of war or armed conflict.  It is our hope that as Abraham Lincoln spoke of what unifies our diverse population, this series of stamps can also serve as an “Electric Cord” that connects us to every patriot grave.

You can help support this project by writing to the Post Master General at the address below, and ask them to proceed with the project:

Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300
Washington, DC 20260-3501.

April 2018 – Centennial Committee Update

The Centennial Committee is happy to announce that the National Infantry Museum and the Maxwell Airforce Base historians have agreed to help with multiple projects that are underway as we move toward the 100th Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in November 2021.

The Society is also working with the World War I Centennial Commission to bring our grass roots efforts on the National Salute to a wider audience leading up to Veterans Day 2018 and beyond.  Please check back for more detailed information as we get closer to November 11th.

March 2018 – TUS100 Committee works with a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army

The Society is excited to announce that Mr. Allen Hoe, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, will be joining former Sergeant of the Guard, Master Sergeant Tanner Welch (2012-14), on the Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam (PBPHH) Project.  The JBPHH Project hopes to capture the history of Hawaii’s involvement with the ceremonies surrounding the Trans-Pacific Unknown Candidate, the Korean War Unknown Soldier and the Vietnam Unknown Soldier in 1958 and 1984.

March 2018 – TUS100 Committee works with the VC & GC Association

The Society is pleased to announce that the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association, which represents all living holders of the United Kingdom’s highest award for valor, the Victoria Cross and George Cross, will be assisting with the Foreign Military Medals project as it brings this history and stories behind the medals presented to the World War I Unknown Soldier during the internment ceremonies on November 11, 1921.

The Unknown Soldier was honored by our ally when they conferred the Victoria Cross for his gallantry during the great war. The United States had bestowed the Medal of Honor in the name of the Congress of the United States upon the unidentified British soldier buried in Westminster Abbey on March 4, 1921.

March 2018 – TUS100 Committee works with the Romanian Military

The Society is pleased to announce that the Military Attaché, Brigadier General Constantin Iacobita, of the Romanian Embassy in the United States is working with the TUS100 committee on the Foreign Military Medals project. This rich history between the Romanian Military and the United States in only highlighted by the unique story behind the presentation of the Military Virture Medal to the World War I Unknown Soldier on November 11, 1921. We hope to bring this story to the pubic in 2021 during the Centennial Week.

February 2018 – Society supports grassroots efforts in Washington State

Members of the Society are working with the Stonehenge War Memorial Community Committee in the planning of Veterans Day events, including the National Salute at the memorial this year. Community members from both sides of the Columbia River Gorge representing Maryhill Museum, Washington State Parks, Goldendale Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, Gold Star mothers, veterans, and the Boy/Girls Scouts of America came together along with the Society President and Society Associate Members to start the planning stages to commemorate the end of World War I on November 11th.

The Stonehenge War Memorial, a replica of the original Stonehenge on the Salisbury Plain in England, had its main alter dedicated in 1918 paying homage to the “”To the memory of the soldiers and sailors of Klickitat County who gave their lives in defense of their country. This monument is erected in hope that others inspired by the example of their valor and their heroism may share in that love of liberty and burn with that fire of patriotism which death alone can quench.” Completed in 1929 and re-dedicated that same year it has become of the United States most unique World War I memorials.

January 2018 – TUS100 Committee works with NHHC

The Society is pleased to announce that the Naval History and Heritage Command at the historic Navy Yard in Washington DC will come on board to assist the Centennial Committee on the Historical Ships Project, with the research of naval assets that were involved in the transportation of each of the Unknown Soldiers in 1921, 1958, and 1984.

January 2018 – Cadets support the Society

Cadets from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado have volunteered to assist the Centennial Committee on the Historical Aircraft Project, which is researching the Researching the location/condition of the aircraft used to transport the Vietnam Unknown Soldier, Trans-Pacific Candidate, and the Korean War Unknown Soldier from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii to the mainland.

December 2017 – Girl Scout Merit Badge hits 90%

Project Director Sheila Cavanaugh announced that the Girl Scout Merit Badge project is 90% complete, and is in the final phase of work. The project is designed to help Girl Scouts of all levels to explore the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the pioneering women that who have served as Sentinels standing the eternal watch.

December 2017 – Midshipmen support the Society

Midshipmen from the United State Naval Academy in Annapolis have volunteered to assist the Centennial Committee on the Historical Ships Project, with the research of naval assets that were involved in the transportation of each of the Unknown Soldiers in 1921, 1958, and 1984. The project will capture the individual crew thoughts and memories, historical timelines, and information about each vessel involved including the USS Olympia which carried the remains of the World War I Unknown Soldier home from France in 1921.

November 2017 – Independence Seaport Museum supports the Centennial

Michael Flynn, the Vice President of Interpretation and Visitor Experience at the Independence Seaport Museum pledged to work with the Society on the Centennial, with the hopes that a partnership will “help raise awareness of the USS Olympia‘s role in American History, and in particular the connection to the Unknown Soldier” of World War I. This is a huge boost to many projects currently underway.

November 2017 – 3rd Annual National Salute

Organizations from all 50 states were contacted this year as the National Salute continues to grow each year across the nation.  This year we want to highlight the following to their support:

Alabama Republican Party (AL)
Redding Elks Lodge #1073 (CA)
Redding Emblem Club #515 (CA)
US Air Force Academy Association of Graduates (CO)
World War I Centennial Commission (DC)
Honor Guards of American (FL)
Exchange Club of Rome (GA)
Walk of Heroes War Memorial (GA)
First Church of God (KY)
Bethel First Presbyterian Church (KY)
Kentucky Colonels (KY)
Operation Second Chance (MD)
Borough of Ramsey (NJ)
Borough of Allendale (NJ)
Francis Lewis Hight School JROTC (NY)
Old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (OR)
Old St. Peter’s Landmark Cathedral (OR)
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (OR)
Hood River American Legion Post #22 (OR)
Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue (OR)
Hood River Fire & EMS (OR)
Hoodland Fire District #74 (OR)
Oregon Army National Guard (OR)
Andersons Tribute Center (OR)
The State of Oregon (OR)
Midway Fire & Rescue (SC)
WERA 96.7 FM (VA)
National Rifle Association of American (VA)
Maryhill Museum (WA)

November 2017 – State of Oregon issues Proclamation

Governor Kate Brown (D) became the first state to issue a proclamation supporting the Society, by declaring November 11, 2017 to be “National Salute Day”. Governor Brown urged all Oregonians to join pausing to remember and recognize “those who have sacrificed and those that will sacrifice in the future in the defense of America’s Freedom and Democracy”.

November 2017 – SHGTUS Board members interviewed on the Weather Channel

On November 11, 2017 the Society President and Secretary were interviewed live by the Weather Channel leading up to the national Veteran’s Day observances in Arlington National Cemetery.

President Interview

Secretary Interview

November 2017 –World War I Centennial Commission Podcast

On November 8, 2017 the Centennial Chairman was interviewed about the National Salute on the World War I Centennial Commission podcast with Theo Mayer. You can listen to WW1 Centennial News Episode #45 by following this LINK.

October / November 2017 – Committee Chairman meetings in Washington DC

The Centennial Committee Chairman met with various organizations this week to consolidate support and efforts leading up to the Centennial in 2021 working within the confines of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017.   Productive meetings were held with the Military District of Washington, American Battle Monument Commission, World War I Centennial Commission, Arlington National Cemetery, the 3d United States Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), and the US Army Quartermaster Museum.

September 2017 – Society supports the Heartland Men’s Chorus

The Society is providing support and historical advice to Rob Hill of the Kansas City Heartland Men’s Chorus on their pending production of “We, The Unknown” scheduled for premiere in June 2018. You can learn more about the project HERE.

July 2017 – Society supports grassroots efforts in Maryland

On July 15, 2017 members of the Clarksville, Maryland community to include the Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Revolution, Boy Scout Troop 007, Walnut Grove Home Owners Association, Boy Scouts of American, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts of America, and individual historical reenactors gathered at Colonel Gassaway Watkins grave to lay a wreath in remembrance of his service during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Also, present will be members of the Fife and Drum Corps, who are assigned to the oldest infantry unit in the US Army and official escort to the President: the 3d United States Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).

Col. Watkins enlisted in a regiment from Maryland in January of 1776 as a Sergeant. By April 1776 he was commissioned as an Ensign in the 7th Maryland Regiment eventually earning the rank of Captain having fought the British in over 10 battles. He again answered our country’s call, returning to duty in the War of 1812, attaining the rank of Colonel. Col. Watkins passed away on his property on 14 July 1840 having seen the nation he fought for become a reality.

May 2017 – Centennial Challenge Coin reaches last phase

The much-anticipated Centennial Coin has reached the final phase of design. The project team has submitted the final design, and along with one special edition design, to the Board of Directors for consideration. The final design incorporates the elements of the east face of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier along with a period Sentinel and dates. Expect the coin to be available for purchase in November 2018 in the Society Store.

November 2016 – Centennial Lapel Pin Project completed

The first project for the committee is complete, with the design and creation of the Centennial Lapel Pin. For information on the design process and aspects of the lapel pin, go to this LINK. If you feel like supporting the Society, you can purchase a Centennial Lapel Pin in our Quartermaster Store and the proceeds go directly into the Centennial Committee other projects.

November 2016 – 2nd Annual National Salute

More communities became involved this year with the National Salute and with organizations from 39 states stepping up.  We wish to highlight the following for stepping up this year:

Task Force Heroes (CA)
Washington National Cathedral (DC)
Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge 1585 (FL)
Walk of Heroes War Memorial (GA)
First Congregational Church (IL)
Rochester Fire Department (IN)
Iowa National Guard (IA)
Ebenezer UMC (MD)
Truman State University (MO)
Veterans of Foreign Wars (MO)
Kalispell Fire Department (MT)
Spencerport Fire District (NY)
Bahama Volunteer Fire Department (NC)
Boardman Rural Fire Protection District (OR)
City of Hood River (OR)
Clock Tower Ales (OR)
Covenant Hood River (OR)
Fox12 Oregon (OR)
Hood River Fire & EMS (OR)
Hood River County School District (OR)
Hoodland Fire Department (OR)
KODL Radio Station (OR)
Lars Larson Radio Show (OR)
Marion County Fire District #1 (OR)
Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue (OR)
Old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (OR)
Old St. Peter’s Landmark Cathedral (OR)
St. Thomas Episcopal Church (OR)
St. Mary’s Catholic Church (OR)
University of Oregon ROTC (OR)
Willamette National Cemetery (OR)
Amarillo Fire Department (TX)
Bush Hill Presbyterian Church (VA)
WERA 96.7 FM (VA)
Edison High School (VA)
Ferndale Fire Department (WA)
Starbuck Elementary School (WA)
United Methodist Church (WA)

November 2016 – Mayor issues Proclamation

Hood River Mayor Paul Blackburn became the first city to issue a proclamation supporting the Society, by declaring November 11, 2016 to be “National Salute Day”. Mayor Blackburn urged all citizens in the community “ring our community’s bells” and remember the Unknown Soldiers buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

November 2016 – National Cathedral rings bells for the Unknown Soldiers

The Washington National Cathedral supported the National Salute by ringing the bells of the cathedral 21 times to remind Americans of the sacrifice of so many of our sons and daughters in uniform. You can hear and see the events HERE.

November 2015 – Inaugural National Salute

After researching the history surrounding the internment of the World War I Unknown Soldier, the Society re-instituted the National Salute across the United States with 15 organizations participating across 10 states. Our deepest thanks to:

NBC4 (DC)
Walk of Heroes War Memorial (GA)
Severns Valley Baptist Church (KY)
Bethany Lane Baptist Church (MD)
Ebenezer UMC (MD)
Gaither UMC (MD)
St. Pauls UMC (MD)
Francis Lewis High School JROTC (NY)
St. Marks Episcopal Church (OR)
Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon (OR)
Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue (OR)
Ocean Breeze Baptist Church (OR)
Old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (OR)
The Dalles Chronicle (OR)
Zion Lutheran Church (OR)

This is an important first step, and we hope to continue to improve upon our community’s involvement next year.

August 2015 – First phase of the Stamp Project gets the go-ahead by USPS

The United States Postal Service (USPS) advised that the Society’s proposal for the issuance of a stamp commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was accepted by the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee. This committee reviews the all proposals and then makes recommendations to the US Postmaster General. You can help the committee by writing a letter and asking them to support our proposal. For information on how to help, follow this LINK.