NASHVILLE, Tenn. – To commemorate the 100th Anniversary of U.S. entry into World War I on April 6, 1917, an exhibit entitled “’The Yanks are Coming!’ Tennesseans in World War I,” opens April 6 at the Tennessee State Museum.
The exhibit explores Tennessee’s role in the war that came to be known as the “Great War.”
The first mass war of the 20th century, World War I lasted 1914-1918, with the U.S. entering the conflict on April 6, 1917. Tennessee supplied more than 61,000 men to the Selective Service and 19,000 volunteers. Six Tennesseans would receive the Medal of Honor for their service.
Most Tennesseans served in the U.S. Army’s 30th and 82nd Divisions, but others were in the Marine Corps, the Army Air Corps, and the Navy. The 30th Infantry “Old Hickory” Division of the Army, named after Tennessee native President Andrew Jackson, was comprised of troops from Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
On view in the exhibit will be selected artifacts from the State Museum’s World War I collection including posters, photographs and other historical objects.
The exhibit shares stories of soldiers such as Zephaniah Porter Broom of Inskip in Knox County, who showed the state’s volunteer spirit. He served with the 3rd Tennessee Infantry National Guard 1910-1915. He enlisted as a private with the Canadian Army’s 70th Battalion in October 1915. While in the field the following June, he joined the ranks of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. In France, he was wounded by a machine gun bullet near the Somme in September 1916, and was returned to Canada. On October 1, 1917, he joined the U.S. Army and was assigned to Company C, 117th Infantry Regiment, 30th Division and trained at Camp Sevier, South Carolina. The 117th fought near Ypres, Belgium in 1918 and in several engagements on the Hindenburg Line. Broom was honorably discharged in April 1919.
This exhibit will have an online component which highlights every county in Tennessee. The online exhibit can be found at: www.tnmuseum.org/WWIonline.
The exhibit is free to the public and will be located near the Visitors Desk on D Level of the main State Museum.
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