Monthly Archives: May 2018

Giving Thanks

Now that the whirlwind of preparations and the actual Derby fundraiser is complete, it’s time to give thanks to everyone who made it possible.

Thank you to everyone who attended and added to the fun, bid on the baskets, donated their winnings, and gave their support just by being there.

Thank you to all who made the fundraiser possible. It’s difficult not to make mistakes when listing names. Please forgive any omissions.

♥ Barbara and David Ash ♥ Russ and Ann Barlowe ♥ Victor Cash ♥ Mike and Joyce Crabtree ♥ Norma, Ron, Lorraine, and Amy Eckard and Sam Allison ♥ Christy Fox ♥ Mary Lou and Gene Green ♥ Barbara and Jim Griffin ♥ Ken and Lynda Grymala ♥ Marvin and Betsy Hamer ♥ Connie Hendrix ♥ Joe Higgenbottham ♥ Lee Hinnant ♥ Dee Hunsucker ♥ Carol Jutte ♥ Tommy and Gloria Lewis ♥ Lucia Bland and Allen Lister ♥ Gary McDaniel ♥ Jody McCann ♥ Ruth Ann McLellan ♥ Leddy and Richard Polity ♥ Helen and Bob Radcliffe ♥ Jayne and Bill Rankin ♥ Mary Snead ♥ Lois and Norm Sprinthall ♥ Patricia Steele ♥ Stephani Thompson ♥ Trudy Wells ♥ Darby and Judy Whitlow ♥

Thank you to the individuals who donated to the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range for the Stabilization effort. The link to view the names is always shown beside the thermometer on the right side of the website.

Thank you to those who honored the sacrifices of the brave men and women from Brunswick County who served in World War I by participating in the “Honor a Brunswick County WWI Veteran” program. The link to view veteran names and the donor honoring them is also shown beside the thermometer.

Thank you to those who sent photographs of ancestors who served in World War I. These can be found on the World War I Wall of Honor.

Thank you to the businesses that donated items for the fundraiser. The business names and links to the website/Facebook are also listed on the Contributors webpage. We ♥ our local businesses!

One unique item was donated by the Friends of Oak Island Lighthouse (FOIL), which was included in one of the themed baskets.
A plaque with an original piece of the Oak Island Lighthouse Emergency Beacon Tower support system mounted on it, including a Certificate of Authenticity.

There are currently 300 of these available for $60 each. The price will increase to $75 in the fall. Contact for more information.

Thank you to all!

As always, thanks for the support of our local media. See the News section to read years of published stories.

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WWI Profile: Curtis L. Smith 1897-1982

To view this or an earlier profile at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

Curtis Lee Smith
Mill Branch, Brunswick County, NC
NC National Guard

September 11, 1916 – April 9, 1919
May 11, 1918 – April 2, 1919
Awarded Silver Star

Curtis Lee Smith was born and raised in Brunswick County, NC. A family tree is located in FamilySearch.

On September 11, 1916, Curtis enlisted in the NC National Guard. In November, he was promoted to Private First Class.

In 1917 when the United States joined the war, Pfc Smith was assigned to Company G, 119th Infantry, 30th “Old Hickory” Division. Refer to the previous posts outlining the history of the division, training at Camp Sevier, SC, and their famous Hindenburg Line assault. After arriving in France, in August 1918, Curtis was promoted to corporal.

Cpl Smith was not injured during the Hindenburg assault or the push afterwards that wounded both Pfc Albert Williams and 1st Sgt Van Mintz. But his gallantry on October 10, 1918 earned him a Silver Star. (Events of that operation are described in the two profiles of those fellow soldiers.)

Corporal Curtis Lee Smith received the following citation.

By direction of the President, under the provisions of the act of Congress approved July 9, 1918 (Bul. No. 43, W.D., 1918), Corporal Curtis L. Smith (ASN: 1315927), United States Army, is cited by the Commanding General, American Expeditionary Forces, for gallantry in action and a silver star may be placed upon the ribbon of the Victory Medals awarded him. Corporal Smith distinguished himself by gallantry in action while serving with Company G, 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Division, American Expeditionary Forces, in action near St. Souplet, France, 10 October 1918, in alone going forward and operating his machine gun, after the rest of his squad had become casualties.

After the war, he returned to Brunswick County, married, and began raising a family. Some time after 1940, he relocated and eventually lived in Archdale, NC, in Randolph County.

Curtis Lee Smith passed away on September 7, 1982, almost two years after his wife. He is buried in Floral Garden Memorial Park, High Point. His flat marker includes “U.S. Army Hero, WWI”

Corporal Curtis Lee Smith was one of three known soldiers from Brunswick County to be awarded medals during WWI.

If you would like to help us honor Curtis Lee Smith or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement: Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran: How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

Click the category: Veteran Profile here or at the bottom of any veteran profile post to see all of the veteran profiles published. Follow or subscribe to the blog to stay updated on all new profiles.

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The Final Derby Day Fundraiser

The fundraiser was a great success.

Thanks to the special volunteers, donors, business donors, and supporters of the Fort Caswell Rifle Range, the fundraiser was full of fun and a success at raising money to continue with the stabilization.

Supporters arrived, with many dressed for the Derby. Prizes were given later in the day for costumes and hats.

Volunteers registered those attending, sold dinner tickets, and offered both Kentucky Derby tickets and tabletop race tickets during the day.

During the festivities, an uninvited visitor (small alligator) watched from outside.

Ten members of Brunswick Town Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, and supporters of the Fort Caswell Rifle Range, attended.

One corner was a reminder of those we honor as we save the historic structure in the neighborhood. The Doughboy Wall was overflowing with Brunswick County WWI Veteran names; next to it, the insignias of their divisions and special units could be viewed. This is a copy of a recruiting poster from 1919.

The new baskets for silent auction were appreciated by all who attended. Helen Radcliffe, pictured here in her Derby attire, watches pensively as attendees look at goodies in the baskets she created. Helen’s hard work resulted in a big boost to the Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range. This table displayed many baskets; however, the entire room was overflowing with them!

More items for sale, made by a distant supporter of the rifle range.

The tabletop races were enjoyed by all.

Dinner and cake was served before the official Kentucky Derby.

The thermometer is going to need an update soon!

We’ll be sharing our thanks to volunteers, donors, and local businesses in the coming days. Thank you!

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NC State’s Belltower Centennial Event

Poppies at the North Carolina State University Belltower Centennial Ceremony

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

~ from the poem “In Flanders Field” by John McCrae

The ceremony at North Carolina State University’s Belltower mentioned in yesterday’s post included the recitation of the poem, while surrounded by a mixture of thousands of real and artificial poppies, shown above, the internationally recognized symbol of remembrance.

Jerry Hester, military veteran and NCSU alumni (class of 1935), who was appointed to the WWI Centennial Commission by President Obama, presented the university with a 2018 World War I Centennial Silver Dollar.

The 40-minute ceremony also included a singing of the national anthem, an invocation, the laying of a wreath at the base of the tower and “Taps” in memory of the 34 NC State students and alumni who died while serving our country in World War I.

The ceremony ended with a 21-gun salute and a flyover of F-15 fighters from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, which alarmed nearby residents who were unaware.

Read an account of the ceremony and view the great pictures published in the North State Journal.

The North Carolina State University Belltower was designated an official WWI Centennial Memorial last year during the first round of the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program.

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Countdown to the Derby Day Fundraiser: 4 Days

The 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range was recently designated a National WWI Centennial Memorial.

Who has the authority to designate National WWI Centennial Memorials?

The WWI Centennial Commission was established by the World War One Centennial Commission Act, passed by the 112th Congress and signed by the President on January 16, 2013. The WWI Centennial Commission Act gave the Commission, among other things, the authority to designate memorials to the service of members of the United States Armed Forces in World War I

Who serves on the WWI Centennial Commission?

The Centennial Commission is composed of 12 members:

Three members appointed by the Speaker and minority leader of the US House of Representatives, three members appointed by the majority and minority leaders of the US Senate, three members appointed by the President, one member appointed by the executive director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, one member appointed by the executive director of the American Legion, one member appointed by the president of the Liberty Memorial Association.

The 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program, which named the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range a WWI Centennial Memorial, is sponsored by the US World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library with support from the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The Daughters of the American Revolution is a WWI Centennial Commission partner.

How did the rifle range earn the designation?

A proposal to the WWI Centennial Commission was created using all of the information from the past seven years found on this website. This includes the Stabilization, History, Fundraising, News, WWI Wall of Honor pages, and the Honor a Brunswick County WWI Veteran program.

How many memorials were designated in the United States?

100 memorials in the United States were designated Official WWI Centennial Memorials. The list may be found here.

How many in North Carolina?

There is only one other memorial designated as an official WWI Centennial Memorial in North Carolina. The North Carolina State University’s Belltower in Raleigh was also designated. The Memorial Tower was built to honor NC State’s alumni who were killed in WWI.

Today, May 1, 2018, a full military ceremony will be held at the Belltower in Raleigh. It includes a 21-gun salute and a flyover of F-15s from the 4th Fighter Wing stationed at Goldsboro’s Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. 1000 blooming poppies, planted by a horticulture science class, will be in planters surrounding the belltower.

“We want to wake up the area with North Carolina’s major event to celebrate the Centennial Commission,” says Hester, a 1953 NC State graduate and retired U.S. Air Force veteran. “We have the nation’s only belltower that is dedicated to students [and alumni] who sacrificed everything in World War I.

“They deserve to be remembered with an event like this.”

The Friends of Fort Caswell Rifle Range will have members attending and plan to share pictures in tomorrow’s post.

Click here for more information about the Derby Day Fundraiser to support the 1918 Fort Caswell Rifle Range.

Stay tuned…

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