PPG hosts Oct. 25 pre-Veterans Day WWI commemoration event

UNION, SOUTH CAROLINA —- Join the Piedmont Physic Garden (PPG) on Oct. 25 from 6 – 8 pm for a pre-Veterans Day experience to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War I (WWI).

Led by Spartanburg historians Jim Crocker and Charlie Gray, the program features historic stories about local soldiers and the story of the poppy as an international symbol of remembrance. Crocker, a WWI enthusiast and collector, will highlight stories and contributions of soldiers from Union County who participated in the conflict. Gray’s discussion includes the story of the poppy. A reception will immediately follow the program. Each attendee will receive a poppy to wear through Veterans Day.

Charlie Gray is a native of Laurens, SC and a graduate of Wofford College and retired from the college in 2016. His interest in WWI stems from his uncle’s service in Company D, 118th Infantry and a love of history.

Jim Crocker was born in Lexington, NC.  The son of a Baptist minister, he has also lived in Pacolet and Boiling Springs, SC where he graduated from High school. Crocker’s ancestors moved to the Glendale (SC) area before the American Revolution and on to Santuc after the Revolution.

Crocker’s interest in The Great War (WWI) comes from a perspective where he sees this conflict as the catalyst for so many of the Twentieth Century’s events, which followed that war. Crocker loves history and is a member of a number of organizations promoting and preserving the history of our region. He is especially active in the Military History Club of the Carolinas.

One hundred years ago, WWI was finally moving toward its devastating conclusion. From late September and into October, the famed Hindenburg Line began to collapse, and leading the way was

the Old Hickory Division (30th Infantry Division). Many men from Union County were involved in the heaviest of the fighting as members of Company E, 118th Infantry. Many did not come home leaving local families to grieve along with 10 million families worldwide.

The poppy became an enduring symbol of remembrance for those who died far from home in the fields of Flanders, once beautiful places. Poppies still grow freely and abundantly there, ironically where the heaviest fighting occurred. Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander McCrae, a Canadian soldier, wrote “In Flanders Fields,” a famous poem of grief and remembrance in response to his sad personal experiences there. Symbolically, the blood of the dead returns yearly as beautiful poppies wave peacefully in the breezes of those post-War fields; a healing reminder of what was lost in four terrible years of war.

The event will be held at the headquarters of the Piedmont Physic Garden located at 301 E. South Street in Union. General admission is $20. (PPG members receive discounts.) Space is limited. Please reserve you spot today by registering via our Facebook page or via our Events page on our website. For questions, please call us at 864-427-2556.

Join PPG, a place of peace and healing, as we remember and honor those souls lost one hundred years ago.