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World War I commemoration at Greenhill

Greenhill School will host ceremonies on Sunday morning commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

The event outside the Three Chimneys Building will be one of many around the world in remembrance of the 2o million people who died in World War I.

“World War I was the first truly modern conflict; it was the first time we saw death on an industrial scale,” said History Department chair Amy Bresie. “World War I killed 20 million people and that was carnage at an unprecedented scale.”

U.S. troops in action in World War I.

The treaty was signed in 1919; the Nov. 11 ceremonies commemorate the armistice going into effect. This day is remembered across the world. In America, the day is now celebrated as Veterans Day; in Europe, the day is known as Armistice Day; and in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, France, Belgium and many other countries, November 11 is known as Remembrance Day. The Greenhill event on Sunday is open to the public. Program participants will gather outside the Three Chimneys Building at 10:45 a.m. There will be a flag ceremony followed by a playing of Taps by Greenhill band director Brian Donnell and some of his students at precisely 11 a.m.

President Woodrow Wilson reads the Armistice terms to Congress on Nov. 11, 1918.

There will also be a reading of the celebrated World War I poem “In Flanders Fields.” The poem was written by John McCrae, a Canadian doctor and teacher who served with British Empire forces during the war. Dr. McCrae wrote the poem following the death of a friend in the battle of Ypres, in an area of Belgium known as Flanders. Dr. McCrae himself died of illness in January 1918, ten months before the war’s end.

“This poem looks at the war, the memory, and how we honor the dead,” said Dr. Bresie.

A wounded U.S. Marine receives treatment in a front-line trench in France before evacuation to a hospital, 1918.

After the Three Chimneys ceremony, guests will be invited to proceed to the Upper School History pod to tour a World War I exhibit prepared by tenth-grade students.

“The entire tenth-grade class has been trying to come up with ways of designing memorials for World War I,” said Dr. Bresie. “A lot of these memorials will be for lesser known events and people.”

The war’s impact still endures a century later, she said.

“We are still seeing the consequences,” said Dr. Bresie.  “We live in the world that World War I created, even if we don’t recognize it. We have to acknowledge how the world got to the way that it was… It is important to remember all of the veterans who have served and who have died, all for a cause greater than themselves.”

U.S. tanks advance toward the front line in the Argonne Forest, France, in September 1918.

Photos by BBC and the National Archives

1 Comment
  1. Brian Donnell 12 months ago

    Wonderful article, Caroline. Thank you for covering the event.

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