The New Mexico History Museum opens The First World War
On Monday, Nov. 11, 1918, The New Mexican’s top story was heralded by a bank of five headlines:
WORLD WAR ENDS Scourge of Nations Ends at 6 a.m. Armistice is Agreed to By Germans at Midnight and Six Hours Later the Last Gun is Fired
in the All-Nations Combat — Terms to Be Announced Later Revolution Spreads All Over Germany as Kaiser and Family Are in Flight President Addresses Joint Session of Congress Today Reading Armistice Terms
More than 17,000 recruits from New Mexico served in the U.S. military during the war that lasted more than four years. Their service is celebrated in The First World War, opening Sunday, Nov. 11, at the New Mexico History Museum. Some of the New Mexico soldiers who served in the war overseas had also seen action closer to home. In retaliation for Francisco “Pancho” Villa’s raid on the town of Columbus, New Mexicans fought in 1916 and 1917 under Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing in the Mexican Punitive Expedition. Ten American officers and soldiers were killed in that action. But 501 of the state’s soldiers lost their lives in World War I.
“The First World War permanent exhibition opening on Veterans’ Day 2018 at the New Mexico History Museum captures the essence of the hardship, fears, hopes, dreams, and heartbreak of New Mexicans who served,” said Devorah Romanek, curator of exhibits at the University of New Mexico’s Maxwell Museum of Anthropology and guest curator of the new exhibition. “For some, the call to serve led to global travel and new perspectives, but the yearning for home was always present.”
Private Servando Gonzales (left) of Tijeras, and fellow musicians of the 19th Infantry, Company E, circa 1919; right, front page of The Santa Fe NewMexican on Nov. 11, 1918; archive photo