“The Great War” was responsible for many of history’s “firsts.” Chemical weapons. Blood banks and plastic surgery. Tanks and aircraft carriers. New types of warfare were responsible for the development of all of these “advancements.” The conflict was itself a first – the first true world war, reaching from Russia to Australia, Japan to Cameroon, and Brazil to Baghdad. The number of governments and political entanglements involved make World War I an incredibly complex part of history. One that is often hard to understand.
On Veteran’s Day, Friday, Nov. 11, at 4 p.m., the Stillwater Public Library will present “The Story of World War One,” which will help audience members better understand the circumstances leading to “The Great War” and the events that took place throughout it.
Donning the uniform of a World War One soldier, professional storyteller John Hinkle will take the audience step by step through the twists and turns of three cousins, the Kaiser of Germany, the Czar of Russia, and the King of England as they slipped into the quagmire of political alliances dragging France, the United States and others into volatile situations, much as the world is experiencing today.
Hinkle is an artist in residence, storytelling in schools across the South. He has been touring Oklahoma since 2014 with his WWI performance and will continue across the state during the next two years ending in 2018 on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the precise time of the World War One armistice on Nov. 11, 1911.
Hinkle completed another very popular tour throughout Oklahoma in 2008 presenting a one man show depicting Governor “Alfalfa” Bill Murray in honor of the Oklahoma centennial.
Books and videos about World War One are available for checkout in a display at the library. The display features several collectibles from the Wayne and Phyllis Pettyjohn Collection, including a WWI uniform, U.S. and German combat helmets, trench art, sweetheart jewelry and a German Pickelhauben. Items will be on display Nov. 1-14.
Also included in the display are sketches of several of Stillwater soldiers. One of the best known was Captain Carter Hanner, for whom the American Legion Post 129 in Stillwater was partially named. Hanner died on Oct. 8, 1918, in France and was awarded the French Croix de Guerre and the World War I Victory Medal. Others included Oklahoma Lt. Governor James Berry and Red Alcott, who was shot at City Hall in 1950 while serving as Stillwater’s Mayor.
“The Story of World War One” is free and open to the public, though it is best suited for adults and young adults in sixth grade and up. The presentation will feature a short flag ceremony provided by members of the Stillwater VFW, Post 2027. Veterans in the community are encouraged to attend the presentation and be recognized for their service to the country.
The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. (the corner of Duck and 12th Ave.). Visit the library online at http://library.stillwater.org.