‘North Carolina In The Great War’ Exhibit Opens At Festival Park
A new exhibit, “North Carolina in the Great War” opens this Monday (Aug. 7) at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo.
Nearly 61,000 North Carolinians were drafted in 1917 and 1918 for a world war that had begun several years earlier. During this centennial commemoration of World War I, a 10-panel exhibit, accompanied by many artifacts, remembers 2,375 lives lost and more than 200 medal recipients from the Tar Heel state. Also included are several local and regional artifacts.
The United States remained neutral during the first years of the conflict, but German attacks on American shipping forced President Woodrow Wilson to ask for a formal Declaration of War in April 1917. Americans began arriving in France in June 1917 and were on the front lines by October. American involvement proved pivotal, ending the four-year stalemate that had claimed millions of lives. By November 1918, the war was over.
In response to the Declaration of War, North Carolina rallied to the cause. North Carolinians contributed to the wartime effort in many ways, ranging from women serving as nurses in military hospitals, to the production of artillery shells in Raleigh and ships in Wilmington. Farmers grew victory acres and children grew thrift gardens to earn money to buy war bonds. Individuals and industry united to support the war effort.
North Carolinians served in major battles of the Western Front in 1918. They fought in the battles of 2nd Marne, St. Mihiel, and in the Meuse-Argonne, the last major campaign of the war. As part of the British army, Tar Heels in the 30th Division fought in Belgium and France in intense combat. In only five months of action in 1918, the United States suffered more than 275,000 casualties with more than 50,000 deaths.
“North Carolina in the Great War” will be on exhibit at Roanoke Island Festival Park August 7 through September 24. It can be seen daily 9am to 5pm in the small gallery in Ticket Sales.
The exhibit is free and open to the public.
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