The first in a series of local events commemorating Summit County’s contributions in America’s entry into World War I will be held Monday, April 3 at 11:00 am. The ceremony will take place at Summit County’s World War I Memorial, adjacent to Charles Goodyear Park, 174 S High St. The official ceremony is sponsored by the Summit County Historical Society and will be held at “The Spirit of The American Doughboy” statue in front of the Summit County Courthouse.
Featured speakers include Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, and State Senator Frank LaRose. The Salvation Army, a strong partner to Akron troops in WWI, will be represented by the local citadel’s brass choir, which will provide music for the occasion. The event is free, open to the public, and will adjourn at 11:30.
On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany. Within the week, Akron joined the nation in mustering its collective will to save Europe. Akron provided more men to the war effort in 1917 than any city in Ohio except Cleveland and Cincinnati – nearly 9,000 “GI’s” (a term coined during WWI.) Akron men were mostly assigned to the 83rd “All Ohio” Division, which trained at Camp Sherman in Chillicothe, and were deployed in June 1918 as part of the American Expeditionary Force. In less than two years, over 116,000 Americans would perish in the “The War to End All Wars.”