Maplewood and Durand-Hedden remember the Great War

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MAPLEWOOD, NJ — A century ago, the United States declared war on Germany, joining World War I, and the impact was felt in the small town of Maplewood. More than 100 men from Maplewood were called to serve and eight never made it home. Three saw brutal action in France, two were pilots whose planes went down, and three were victims of the influenza pandemic.

Join Durand-Hedden on Sunday, Nov. 19, from 1 to 4 p.m. to observe this historic event that changed the world, the United States and this town. Join a WWI reenactor portraying a Marine sergeant as he reveals the life of a doughboy; and view a soldier’s kit and antique firearms. Hear an authentically attired drum and bugle corps from Early Music and Arts play military music of the period plus the spirited “Over There,” and meet silent screen celebrity “Theda Bara” as she speaks about her work selling war bonds and visiting the wounded. Interactive activities for young visitors include designing patriotic propaganda posters and making red paper poppies symbolizing remembrance.

A new exhibit will explore recently rediscovered stories of Maplewood’s war casualties as well as the effects of the Spanish flu and efforts of the homefront. Soon after war’s end, the young suburb of Maplewood began plans to create Memorial Park, named to commemorate all the men and women who had served. To honor the eight local men who died, the community planted eight American elms at the top of the natural amphitheater, marked by a bronze plaque.

Durand-Hedden House is located in Grasmere Park at 523 Ridgewood Road in Maplewood. For more information or to arrange group tours, call 973-763-7712 or visit www.durandhedden.org.

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