The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum is pleased to host an illustrated talk on World War I battlefields by local historian William Walker on Thursday, June 3, at 5:00 p.m. in the Presidential Library’s Dolores Lescure Center. The talk is free and open to the public.
William Walker is writing a book about World War I. He is a former Associate Vice President for Public Affairs at the College of William and Mary and worked in similar positions at Gettysburg College, Virginia Tech, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He earned Bachelors and Masters in degrees in English at the University of Virginia and completed his course work for his Ph.D. in English from Tulane University, where he was a Woodrow Wilson fellow.
The talk is related to the Presidential Library’s planned extensive tour of the World War I battlefields in October to be led by Mr. Walker and fellow World War I author Edward Lengel. Scheduled for October 12-19, 2010, the tour will focus on the battlefields of General John J. Pershing’s Meuse-Argonne Offensive, including the site of Sergeant Alvin York's heroics, the area of the Lost Battalion, and the heavily fortified hill of Montfaucon, called the "Little Gibraltar" of the Western Front. In addition, participants will spend a day in Paris before returning home.
The Meuse-Argonne Offensive remains the country’s largest battle involving 1.2 million American soldiers. The offensive, which broke the German's famed Hindenburg Line, was the pivotal battle for Americans who participated in World War I. It involved numerous divisions, including the 29th Division (Blue and Gray Division) and the 80th Division (Blue Ridge Division). Because many soldiers from the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia served in these units, the tour will visit sites connected with the two divisions. Participants in the tour, which will also cover the brutal 1916 battle of Verdun, will be able to climb into original French and German trenches and bunkers, trace the attacks of significant units, and experience the dense Argonne Forest, which was the site of fierce fighting.
The talk and tour continue a series of initiatives of the Presidential Library to recognize veterans and raise awareness about World War I, including a new World War I exhibit and a free Veterans Day program last November to recognize President Wilson’s involvement in the formation of Veterans Day.
For more information on the talk, contact William Browning at the WWPL (540) 885-0897, ext. 119, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the tour, contact Robin von Seldeneck at (540) 885-0897, ext. 114, or email@example.com, or call Shenandoah Tours at (800) 572-3303.