It has been a busy week, thus the lack of posts. Yesterday I did manage to get to DeWitt Clinton Park on 52nd Street and 11th Avenue for the annual In Flanders Fields commemoration. I ran into Mark Levitch from the World War 1 Memorial Inventory Project at the ceremony. He told me he now has about 2,000 of the nearly 10,000 Great War monuments across the country inventoried. Remember, he is looking for volunteers if one is interested in playing amateur historian. He is doing some interesting and important work. There were many folks there from last week’s Lusitania event as well.
The In Flanders Fields doughboy, sometimes called the Clinton doughboy, is just one of the dozens of Great War monuments here in New York. The sculptor Burt W. Johnson, was the brother-in-law of Louis St. Gaudens. The former U.S. ambassador to Germany, James W. Gerard, dedicated the monument in 1930. (Sixteen years earlier Gerard defeated Franklin Delano Roosevelt for the Democratic nomination in the 1914 U.S. Senate race in New York; Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy in the Wilson Administration at the time.) Yesterday’s program was not a centennial program per se; they do this program every year. Some regular attendees did tell me though that yesterday’s attendance was twice the average because of the 100th anniversary of the war.
Here are a few pictures.
Amy Schwarz said:
Burt Johnson was the brother-n-law of Louis St.Gaudens, brother of Augustus, husband of Annetta, all sculptors in their own right. The ceremony commemorated the 100th anniversary of the poem, “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, as well as a memorial to WWI. My grandfather’s sculpture was inspired by the poem, part of which is inscribed beneath the statue. The commission was by the local people of the area for those they lost to the war.
Keith Muchowski said:
Amy, nice to hear from you. Thanks for the clarification regrading Louis St. Gaudens. The New York Times article I read said St. Gaudens and I assumed that meant Augustus. Your grandfather’s sculpture is indeed strikingly beautiful. I was so glad I was able to make the ceremony last week.