Lest We Forget

Sailors Sammies and Doughboys Over There in World War I

World War I was unprecedented in size, scope, cost, destruction, casualties, and social and economic impact: It quite literally changed our world and the course of our civilization. It destroyed old empires and nations, and created whole new nations. Its effects on the many nations that participated and their relationships with each other continue to reverberate today, a century after the final shot was fired. 

World War I changed the way wars are fought. Combat became industrial-scale slaughter involving such technological innovations as mass production, rapid-force automatic weapons, chemical weapons, high explosives, internal-combustion engines, submarines and torpedoes, aircraft, and electronic communications.

The United States entered the war in 1917, three years after most of the rest of the world. For the Allies, the doughboys were exactly what they needed. Known to the Europeans as Yanks or Sammies, United States soldiers adopted the name doughboys for themselves as they fought in the trenches, crawled across no man’s land, and pushed the enemy out of France. 

This exhibit is a tribute to the doughboys and sailors who served, and the allies they fought beside to defeat, collectively, a resourceful and implacable enemy force. For the millions who fought, the cost of the war was personal and they were paid on the fields of battle. Our boys over there fought for their lives, buried the dead, came home, and built memorials for those who perished. Their stories serve as a lasting reminder that our world ignores the history of World War I at its peril - Lest We Forget.  

Poem by WWI soldier Joyce Kilmer written in 1918

Introduction to Lest We Forget