History came alive on Veterans Day as the U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum and U.S. Army Women’s Museum hosted “The 90th Anniversary Commemorating the End of World War I.”
Dr. Steve Anders, quartermaster historian, presented a lecture inside the QM Museum on the history of Camp Lee during World War I. Other guest lecturers included University of Virginia professor Ed Lengel, who spoke on his book about Meuse-Argonne in 1918.
Just outside the museums, Phil Gibbons and Brian Petruskie displayed a large collection of WWI military equipment. Tin corned beef rations, a shaving kit and cavalry gear served as vintage visual aids as they spoke to crowds on the history of the Quartermaster Corps.
Andrea Wilson wore the blue and white uniform of an American Red Cross volunteer. From her canteen, which included a table of coffee, books and chess board, she spoke of the mission of boosting troop morale.
“From these Red Cross canteens, Soldiers could relax and write a letter home, or just have a cup of coffee,” said Wilson. During WWI, there were 22 canteens on the front lines in France. “Most of the canteens were located at rail stations and air fields. Volunteers were not medics but could arrange for medical aid.”
The Salvation Army has a similar mission of troop support. Joy Dematteis and James Bond explained how the religious organization boosted morale by providing wholesome entertainment, creating a transfer system for Soldiers to send money home and offering religious services.
At the furthest end of the post, Amy Wood, archeologist, assisted by 2nd Lt. Zatsha Trivisonno, offered guided tours of WWI trenches. The trenches, used to train Soldiers on Camp Lee, have had their share of preservation issues over the years, including a collapse in 1987 and damage caused by Hurricane Isabel in 2003.
Veterans were honored with a special Veterans Day ceremony outside the Women’s Museum, with music provided by the Fort Lee Army Band. Col. Gwen Bingham, Combined Arms Support Command chief of staff, paid tribute to veterans and a Freedom Team Salute ceremony recognized local veterans.