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Library Honors Legacy of World War I Nov. 7-17 at Library Center

Missouri and the Great War traveling exhibit in the Library Center concourse.The Harlem Hellfighters. The soldiers of Carthage, Missouri. The “tongue of the enemy.” All are stories from World War I that scholars and authors will share in a library series “Honoring the Legacy of World War I” running Wednesday Nov. 7 through Nov. 17 at the Library Center. 

The centerpiece event on Sunday, Nov. 11, at the Library Center coincides with the precise time the war ended 100 years ago. In “World War I in Music & Letters,” members of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra will perform a tribute at “the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.”  

Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. so visitors can see the Missouri and the Great War exhibit in the concourse. The main floor will open at 10:20 a.m. so visitors can be seated before the event begins at 10:45 a.m. The tribute includes readings of letters between Missouri soldiers and their families.

From noon to 1:30 p.m., the Friends of the Library will sponsor a public reception, and at 1:30 p.m. Local History & Genealogy Department Manager Brian Grubbs will talk about the 156,000 Missourians who served in the war, and the state’s efforts to commemorate them in the digital age.

“I hope people will gain a better understanding of why America entered the war and the various roles in which Missourians played,” Grubbs says. “The First World War was a major turning point in world history, and the library district is offering opportunities for individuals to learn from renowned historians.”

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dr. Jennifer Keene, of Chapman University, discusses the racial and cultural differences among American soldiers as seen in groups such as the Harlem Hellfighters.

Thursday at 7 p.m., local author Jeff Patrick looks at Mighty Men of War: The Soldiers of Carthage, a company that took part in one of the bloodiest battles of the war under Capt. Ward Schrantz.

On Saturday at 2 p.m., Dr. Petra DeWitt, of Missouri S&T, discusses how Missouri’s respected German immigrants were suddenly suspect after WWI began, and German was the “tongue of the enemy.”

See the full schedule through Nov. 17 in Bookends and at thelibrary.org/WWI.

Kathleen O'Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at kathleeno@thelibrary.org.

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