Historians focus on Florida in World War I

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The Carrabelle History Museum, in partnership with the Camp Gordon Johnston Museum, is presenting a history program, “Florida in World War I,” offering an opportunity to learn about contributions of Florida in World War I as well as the impact of the 1918 pandemic on the state.

Historian and author Joe Knetsch will be the featured speaker at the program on Saturday, April 10 from 10 a.m. to noon in the upstairs room at C-Quarters Marina, 501 St. James Ave (Hwy 98), Carrabelle.

Due to COVID precautions, seating will be limited. There is no charge for this event, but reservations are required.

A century ago, sparsely populated and largely rural Florida rallied as America plunged into World War I. The state's sacrifices and contributions have rarely been awarded their proper due.

The proud USS Florida, often mentioned as a mere adjunct to the Atlantic Fleet, receives a just accounting, as does the utterly devastating loss of the USS Tampa, the highest death toll the Navy suffered in the war. Sunshine State foresters served critical roles abroad, and local libraries became essential hubs for promoting rationing and reporting news from overseas. Floridian aid workers and soldiers training for departure were stricken with the Spanish flu, a pandemic that shook the globe with a force equal to the war itself.

Knetsch is an American historian and author who has published eight books and over 200 articles in numerous journals. He earned a bachelor of science from Western Michigan University, a master of arts from Florida Atlantic University and a doctorate from Florida State University. He has taught at the secondary and collegiate levels, and worked as a historian for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Natural Resources.

Additionally, Camp Gordon Johnston Museum will be bringing a display of World War I artifacts from their collection. Plus they will have information on three local men who served and were killed in the war.

The History Speaker Series programs are popular and due to COVID precautions, seating will be limited to 50 attendees. Reservations are required by emailing carrabellehistorymuseum@gmail.com. Masks are required. Seats will be spaced to allow for social distancing. Attendees are asked to follow all health guidelines including social distancing and sanitizing hands frequently.

There is no fee for this program; donations are gladly accepted to defray costs. Funding in part by the Franklin County Tourist Development Council. For more information, call 697-2141.

This article originally appeared on The Apalachicola Times: Historians focus on Florida in World War I

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