Rosehill Great War 80th Anniversary Commemoration

Sunday April 13, 1997
12:00 Noon - 4:30p.m.

Rosehill Cemetery and Museum
5800 N. Ravenswood Chicago Illinois 60660

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson stood before a Special Assembly of Congress asking for a declaration of war against the Central Powers of Germany. Impassionately expressing the sadness at loss of innocent American lives already in the distant conflict, he emphatically stated that "the world must be made safe for democracy." Four days later, by a vote of 455 to 56, Congress granted the President the authority to direct and employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States to carry war against the imperial German empire. Our country was at war for the first time in the 20th century.

Four million men were mobilized through the institution of the first draft in U.S. military history, two million of which - within the eighteen months of U.S. commitment - were ferried across the Atlantic for service in the trenches, ships, and aircraft that was to characterize the dawn of modern warfare. It was this "Great War" that determined the very future of all wars and peace.

To commemorate this first of global conflicts and the price paid for democracy by the more than eight million patriots and doughboys who gave their lives for it, Rosehill Cemetery presents the Rosehill Great War 80th Anniversary Commemoration 12 Noon-4:30p.m. Sunday April 13, 1997.

The program commences with President Woodrow Wilson as he delivers his historic "Make the World Safe for Democracy" speech. Ceremonies open with introduction "The Great War's Great Leaders of Rosehill" by David V. Wendell, Historian/Archivist of the cemetery summing the contributions of Chicago's forgotten fighters of World War I.

Following introductory remarks will be Dedication of the Rosehill Great War Memorial including formal ribbon cutting for Exhibit "Safe for Democracy: America Enters World War I." The exhibition includes authentic World War I aircraft and the most comprehensive collection of model aeroplanes from the era. Additionally featured is a Ford Model T Great War Troop Transport and Ambulance from the battlefields of Meuse and Argonne in France. The balance of the exhibition is a vivid assembly of weapons, riflery, and accoutrements of the World War I soldier including star clad uniform of Chicago's most recognized hero of the Western Front, General Abel Davis.

Keynote address at the Dedication is to be delivered by Joseph Schwartz1, National Commander of the Veterans of World War I. Mr. Schwartz was inducted into the United States Army in 1918 and received training for the elite American Expeditionary Forces commanded by General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing.

The dedication ceremony continues with lecture "The Fighting 33rd" by Charles Munie. Mr. Munie is Director Emeritus of the Illinois National Guard Museum and Chief Historian for the 33rd Division. He will present the story of Illinois in World War I concentrating on the heroic role of the 33rd - Illinois' most legendary fighting unit in the war.

Chicago also played a key role in the Aeronautical Corps of the United States Army. It was here that the Army established Cicero Field as a training complex for pilots. Hangars were erected to house fighters and bombers of their time, including the pathfinding Jennys and DeHavillands which became a common scene buzzing the newly risen skyscrapers of the lakefront. To expound on their legacy, Robert Church shall present "Fill the Skies", a lecture describing the contributions of Chicago and aircraft to World War I. Mr. Church is President of Cross and Cockade, the World War I Aeronautical Association.

Concluding the ceremony is David Myers. Mr. Myers is Director of Great Lakes Salvage and will deliver "War Prize: the Story of Chicago's Great War Submarine." His presentation is accompanied by the exhibit "Graveyards of the Great Lakes" with artifacts raised from Lake Michigan including equipment and relics of the World War I submarine sunk off the shores of Chicago.