Recent Blog Posts
New Intern Exhibit goes live! “Remember to Write: 150 Years of Letters Home” done by Kailey Dunmire, MA candidate, George Washington University.
NGEF Hosts Book Panel, Shoot Like a Girl by MJ Hegar, CA Air National Guard
The National Guard Enters World War One, April 6, 1917.
On April 6, 1917, the United States entered the war in Europe that would become known as the War to End All Wars. War was declared on Germany. On that day, the National Guard of the United States deployed and made up 40% of the entire US fighting power in the American Expeditionary Force (AEF.) 17 Divisions supported the effort overseas and the 42d Rainbow Division made up the 18th. From the 42d, William Donovan (to become “Wild Bill” and the founder of the CIA) received a Medal of Honor. One of the most important young men to join the ranks was Harry S. Truman of the Missouri National Guard, 35th ID. The “Harlem Hellfighters” 369th Infantry Regiment from New York paved the way for African American soldiers in the US Army. Henry Johnson of the 369th would receive the Distinguished Service Cross which was reissued as a Medal of Honor in 2015.
Although World War One was to “end all wars”, it did not. What it did do was to usher in the conditions that led to World War II and coin the term “the lost generation.” A devastated Europe would never be the same. Nor would the National Guard of the United States, now having served shoulder-to-shoulder with their active duty counterparts in both support and combat.
We may safely say that the Total Force Policy, germinated in 1903 with the passage of the Dick Act, began its path to today’s modern National Guard with roots firmly planted in the Belgian fields of Flanders poppies.
On Saturday, November 4th, the NGEF Museum team took part in the 44th Annual Conference on D.C. History hosted by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. The title of this year’s conference is “Echo & Resonance: 1968.” In 2016, George Washington University Master’s Degree (then) candidate, Heather Glady interned here at the National Guard Memorial Museum. She chose to do a student show about the DC response to civil disorder in 1968. Her exhibit tied into an international show done at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England. Her exhibit stayed in our lobby at One Massachusetts Ave., NW for many months and now, in a smaller form, is on permanent display in the Library. For the D.C. History Annual Conference, Anne C. Armstrong, our museum director, and Heather presented an informational poster designed to encourage both education and conversation about the National Guard actions taken during the ’68 D.C. Civil Disorder. The exhibit was shown between 12 and 1:15pm local time, in the Sanctuary of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1313 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., 20005. We had a wonderful time!
NB: The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church was attended regularly by President Abraham Lincoln. While there this weekend, we were able to admire the Presidential pew as well as his reading room.
Pew nametag at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church.
NGEF Holiday Schedule
For the coming holidays, the Museum, Library, and Archive will be open normal business hours, M-F, 9-4pm local time. We are closed Monday, December 25th for Christmas, and Tuesday, December 26th. For New Years, we will be closed Monday, January 1st, 2018, New Year’s Day.
Please be sure to visit us and to plan your trip ahead! You can schedule a tour here or walk in! All are welcome!
(This announcement will be moved to the top of the page as we get closer to the 25th and the 1st.)
Artifact of the Week
Epaulets and Metal Case
Mr. Matt Goddard presented these epaulets to Charles Ourand on July 10, 1885. The epaulets are embroidered with gold leaves with sequins and two bars in the center. A metal halo encircles the embroidered center area, and metal wire tassels hang over the edges. The epaulets have purple satin undersides and red leather undersides where a metal clip is meant to attach the ornaments to a garment. The end of each epaulet has button with the seal of the USA (eagle with olive branch and arrows).
The metal case has specific platforms for the epaulets to rest on so the tassels are not bent.
The Artifact of the Week program was initiated by NGEF in 2015. The artifact and description can be seen here, on Twitter, and on Facebook. All artifacts are on loan or owned by NGEF and are part of the National Guard Memorial Museum collection.