World War One. 
    It was the war to end all wars, or so we thought. 
    November 11, 2008 marked the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I; and to commemorate that long and brutal conflict, the Airborne and Special Operations Museum and the Fayetteville Area Transportation Museum are hosting exhibits with artwork and objects from the Great War — a war in which for the first time, the United States ‘flexed’ it’s military muscle for the entire world to see.
    “We’ve got to remember this about World War I — we entered the war with the intention of making war impossible after peace was achieved, and that was Woodrow Wilson’s intent,” said ASOM Director John Duvall. “The U.S. was sort of coming of age in World War I. It was becoming a great power. It was sort of flexing its muscles and saying ‘We have a role in the world and we can bring this war in Europe to an end.’”
    {mosimage}Duvall has procured art from the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington D.C. to convey the Woeld War I experience. While there had been artists on the battlefield long before WWI, it was during this time that the Army officially sent artists to the front to document what our soldiers were experiencing. The works of Jules Andre Smith, George Harding and master printmaker Kerr Erby will be on display. There will also be posters used by the government during World War I, including the famous Uncle Sam “I Want You” recruiting poster. Posters were used extensively for not only recruiting but selling war bonds and promoting other civic actions.
    “One of my concerns about this exhibit,” said Duvall “is that people will miss the subtleties of these works.”
    The lithographs and etchings provide a unique look at the battlefront, as well as life in smalltown France.
    The Fayetteville Area Transportation Museum exhibit explores how Fayetteville and the surrounding areas were impacted by World War I. The exhibit is heavily supplemented with war-related artifacts, including some items on loan from the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum located at Fort Bragg. Visitors can expect to see a German machine gun, a French machine gun, rifles, bayonets, uniforms, radios, medals and personal items that were carried by soldiers, such as shaving kits and helmets.
    Fayetteville Historic Properties Manager Bruce Dawes designed the exhibit to touch upon every possible aspect of World War I. 
    “We talk about the ordinary soldier from Cumberland County and his experiences,” said Dawes. “We talk about the hometown unit which was the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry. We tell about what was going on at the home front; patriotic speeches, recruiting, war bonds ... all those things that the civilians back here were doing to support the troops.  
“I think this is a very hometown exhibit, so it brings with it a lot of old Fayetteville names that you will recognize,” said Dawes.
    For example, William O. Huske, who was associated with Huske Hardware, was gassed and wounded during the war.  
Duvall and Dawes both mentioned that there is a permanent World War I exhibit at Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum that fits in nicely with the events going on downtown.

Contact Stephanie Crider at 

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