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Echoes of War: Stories from the Big Red One

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Photo, First Division Memorial by Daniel Chester French, 2004, dbking, Flickr

The U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division, formed during World War I, is known as the "Big Red One" for the numeral 1 that has been part of their uniforms since 1918. This website, a companion to Ken Burns's documentary The War, presents a small amount of content related to the experiences of the soldiers in this division.

Of particular note are the brief biographical sketches of eight World War II veterans, including a longer video interview with veteran Clyde F. Sportsman, who participated in the invasion of Sicily, as well as battles in Normandy and Northern France and the Hurtgen Forest.

The website also includes five "webisode" excerpts from the Burns documentary and 11 items from the First Division Museum.

Teachers will be especially interested in the Teacher Login section, which presents five lesson plans on First Division's soldiers' experiences, including their transition from citizen to soldier, the war in North Africa and Sicily, Operation Overlord (D-Day), the difficult winter of 1944, and the final push to victory in 1945.