World War I Centennial
September 21-23, 2018 - Town Center Park
World War I Centennial
Commemorated at Town Center Park
The First World War began in August 1914, touched off two months earlier by the assassination by a Serbian national of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sophie, in Serajevo. Austria-Hungary subsequently declared war on Serbia, which set in motion a number of "entangling alliances" involving Serbia's allies Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, and Japan on one side, and Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Turkey on the other. The result was the costliest and one of the deadliest conflicts in recorded history.
The United States stayed neutral despite a number of hostile acts by Germany, including the May 1915 sinking of the passenger ship Lusitania that carried many Americans, and the so-called "Black Tom" explosion in New Jersey in 1916, an act of German sabotage. But in January 1917, a telegram from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman to his Mexican counterpart was intercepted and decoded by Great Britain. In the telegram, Germany offered Mexico the return of New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas in exchange for Mexico's help should the U.S. enter the war on the side of Britain and her allies. The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.
The war ended officially at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918 with the Armistice. Of the approximately 4,000,000 American servicemen in WWI, 116,708 American military personnel died, either in combat, from wounds, or from Spanish influenza.
Antonio Cardo was born in Italy in 1894. Around 1912, he came to this country with his younger brother Joseph and worked for the Marlin-Rockwell Corporation until May 1918, when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. While serving in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps in October that year, Private Cardo was stricken and died in the Spanish Influenza pandemic that killed at least 20,000,000 worldwide.
The young man at right is Private Cardo's great-great-grandnephew and namesake, Anthony Cardo, of Hamden. Majoring in military history in college, Mr. Cardo has researched the son of his 3rd Great-Grandfather Joseph Cardo, and discovered that the October 1918 date of his Great-Great Grand-uncle Antonio's death was same as his October 1994 birth.
Next month, Anthony Cardo, a 2013 graduate of Hamden High School, will be 24. He will be the same age Antonio Cardo was when he died 100 years to the day earlier, while in the service of his adopted country during World War I. We know that Antonio Cardo would be very proud of Anthony and that his service and sacrifice were not forgotten.
William MacMullen, Red Cross nurse Diane Kuebler, and U.S. Army Lieut. James Marchand are in a temporary field headquarters. Perhaps Lieut. Marchand is typing out a communique informing the senior brass of some important development.
At right are Chris Douglas of Griswald, CT and Everett Padro of Hamden, members of Connecticut's 26th Yankee Division, beside a portable barracks.
Alan Crane purchased this 1917 Ford Model-T and built the ambulance body to proper specifications, even right down to the number painted on the hood - 91101 - which is the correct number, believe it or not. The vehicle runs and drives perfectly.
Christine Pittsley, pictured at left, says they were called "Doughnut Lassies." These ladies cooked baked goods on site for the boys using portable baking equipment such as this oven on wheels. We tried one of her freshly baked doughnuts, right from the pan - and it was delicious.
James Marchand's World War I-era Ford Model-T staff car is ready for action.
These trenches dug at Town Center Park were authentic replicas of the trenches of World War I.
Firing on the enemy's position . . . . . . then "going over the top" into "no man's land."
During the weekend of September 21-23, 2018, this mock up of a typical World War I encampment was erected at Hamden's Town Center Park to commemorate the 100th anniversary of what prior to 1939 had been optimistically called the "War to End All Wars."
Below are some photos taken during the observances.
Here, re-enactor Tom Sommers of Groton, Massacusetts portrays the captured private of the "Deutches Heer" (German Army). Tom told us that there are Brits and French re-enactors in the group, but he was the only non-American who was able to attend the observance this past weekend.
Tom's display contained numerous German weapons and uniform components from the World War.
At left, Diane Kuebler portrayed a German Red Cross nurse, who, like her Allied counterparts, committed herself to providing care to German and Allied casualties alike.
In her hands above is a genuine German medal, "Für Verdienste um das Rothe Kreuz" honoring the service of Red Cross nurses during the war.
The captured German soldier is escorted back to the American encampment.
Remembering Hamden's fallen of World War I
Their names are inscribed in the rotunda at Hamden's Memorial Town Hall