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Local WWI vet honored one century after firing first US shot at Germany

OSCEOLA, Ind. - The St. Joseph County community came together at the Chapel Hill Funeral Home Monday night to honor a local World War I veteran one hundred years after he fired the first American shot at Germany in the war.

Medals of honor, stars and stripes, and the casing of the first American shot fired at Germany in WWI are the mementos of war hero and South Bend native, Sgt. Alex Arch, who's being honored exactly one century after he fired the first shot at the enemy on October 23, 1917.

“I think it’s really amazing, and I never expected anything so big, so it’s really an honor remembering my father after so many years, 100 years. That’s a long time," said Sgt. Arch's youngest daughter, Margaret Smigielski.

“It’s great to be able to commemorate someone who not only is a Hoosier but helped make world history really," said Chairperson for the Indiana WWI Centennial Committee, Jim Corridan.

The Indiana WWI Centennial Committee is doing just that for the rest of the year--highlighting the Hoosiers who played a role in one of the most influential events in world history.

“The borders that have been drawn in the middle east and the conflicts and the caucuses that we see around the world, a lot of those are actually drawn by the lines that happened to be drawn by the great powers at the end of the war," said Corridan.

Sgt. Arch's three daughters are shining a light on the soldiers like their father, who helped make those powers great.

“They go to war, and they don’t know whether they’ll come home or not. They put their lives on the line for you," said Smigielski.

Years after Sgt. Alex Arch was laid to rest, St. Joseph County Hoosiers are making sure his legacy lives on.

The next stop for the Indiana WWI Centennial Committee is Evansville in November, where they will honor one of the first American soldiers to lose their lives in the war

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