By Stephen E. Lipken
A gala National Kick-off Promotional WWI TV Miniseries Cocktail Reception, “42nd Rainbow Division, In Their Division They Found Unity,” was held at the Bronxville Women’s Club (BWC) on Saturday, August 12, sponsored by BWC, Rainbow Division Productions, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2285 and American Legion Post 979.
Executive Producer/Creator/Writer Alan Platt Sands of Rainbow Division Productions LLC appeared to promote his 42nd Rainbow Division miniseries. Originally from Lincoln, Nebraska, Sands said that he has lived in New York before. “The sole purpose for my being in New York City for the past two years is the 42nd Rainbow Division and my personal quest to actually produce the miniseries.”
The topic was suggested to Sands by United States World War I Centennial Commissioners Monique Seefried and Jerry Hester when Alan visited the General Douglas MacArthur Memorial and Museum in Norfolk, VA during their 50th Anniversary in 2015.
“The 42nd Rainbow Division was composed of 26 National Guard units from all over America including Washington, D.C. This was the brainchild of then Major Douglas MacArthur who went to the Secretary of War Newton Baker and said we needed men because the standing Army had only 130,000 men when President Woodrow Wilson declared war on April 6, 1917,” Sands stated.
MacArthur said that such an organization “would stretch over the whole country like a rainbow.”
“The beauty of the story is that you have Northern and Southern regiments fighting together; 55 years prior they were killing each other during the Civil War. The two regiments I am focusing on in the miniseries are New York’s Fighting 69th and the Alabama 4th who fought a very bloody battle at Marye’s Heights at Fredericksburg, VA.
“The reason that I started in Bronxville is that it represents small town America…,” Sands concluded. It was noted that BWC was designed by WWI veteran Penrose Stout.
The 42nd Infantry Division (Rainbow), is currently headquartered at Glenmore Road Armory in Troy, NY.
America’s WWI losses totaled 116,516 men in 7 months, more than Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq combined.