Texarkana, AR– In 2018, the world will recognize the 100th anniversary of the year that the first great worldwide conflict ended. It was called the “Great War”, “The War to end all Wars,” and eventually “The First World War,” or “World War I”. The war would originate in Europe and drag almost all nations into it. It would see the first major use of air power to gain an upper hand on scouting enemy troops and eventually the first air-to-air combat casualties would begin to pile up. It would be the last war to see any major use of cavalry troops and the first to see iron vehicles rolling to kill both troops and civilians. Trench warfare, only introduced in previous wars when armies were severely outnumbered, would become a normal day on the front. Gas would be used to kill troops, and the bertha gun, a fully automatic machine gun, would introduce the world to the ability to kill like never before. Despite all the stories, sometimes lost with the history of the second war, the surprising fact is that in 2018, it will be one hundred years since the guns went silent. The Arkansas WWI Centennial intends to ensure that the year is marked and remembered for generations to come.
This Friday at 10:00 a.m. the Arkansas WWI Centennial will provide a memorial tree to Miller County, Arkansas. Working with the Arkansas Department of Heritage and the Arkansas Forestry Commission the Centennial tree will mark one hundred years since the end of World War I. According to Mary Beck with Texarkana, Arkansas the tree is a two-year-old Willow Oak. The trees have been offered to all counties in Arkansas on a first come, first serve basis.
In addition to the tree being planted the local Veterans organization will have a short program and dedication. The tree will be planted with soil from the Meuse-Argonne cemtary near Belgium. The cemetery is the final resting place of 14,000 U.S. soldiers who are part of the AEF fighting in the war. Mary Beck, whose grandfather was a WWI Veteran, stated that there is water near where the tree will be planted and that later they plan to place a memorial on the site.
The dedication will be Friday 15th at 10 a.m. at 350 E. Front Street, Texarkana, AR. The public, press and all Veterans are invited and encouraged to attend.
The planned event will follow this outline:
Opening by TAVC President Greg Beck
Prayer by Robert Hernandez
City of Texarkana, Arkansas Mayor Ruth Penney Bell
Mary Beck, City Planner for the City of Texarkana, Ark. Her grandfather Roy Lapreze fought with the Army in France during World War I.
In Flanders Field by Ann Nicholas
Reading by Patrick McReynolds
Planting of the tree
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