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WW I Centennial: Focus Of Evergreen Cemetery Walk

McLean County Museum of History
In all, 5,000 McLean County residents served overseas in World War I, but thousands more supported the troops with work in Bloomington-Normal.
Credit McLean County Museum of History
Edward Bynum (1895-1954) and his brother fought for the U.S. during World War I in the failed hope of improving their rights and liberties after the war.

A century ago in April the United States entered World War I. More than 5,000 people from McLean County served in the Great War, or about 7 percent of the population.

World War I is the theme of this year's Evergreen Cemetery Walk put on by the McLean County Museum of History.

Museum Education Coordinator Candace Summers said all of the characters have a connection to the war: soldiers, nurses, or people back in McLean County supporting the war.

The Museum of History has identified identified 180 people associated with the war who are buried in Evergreen Cemetery. As part of the walk this weekend and next, all those graves are marked with poppies and flags.

Dean and Cindy Brown are a couple who are acting in the Cemetery Walk this year. They play a married couple, Carl and Julia Vrooman. Cindy said she relishes the opportunity.

Listen to Cindy and Dean Brown perform part of their sketch from the cemetery walk.

Following the war, the Vroomans opened their mansion just off the downtown as an overflow hospital during the flu pandemic of 1918 and 1919. The Cemetery Walk will perform for more than 1,800 students over the next week as well as members of the public this weekend and next.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.