America will commemorate the centenary of its entry into the First World War with a national ceremony on April 6, the US WWI Centennial Commission has announced.
The event will take place at the National World War I Museum and Memorial, 100 years to the day after Congress approved the declaration of war on Germany in 1917.
"The April 6 ceremony in Kansas City is an important element of the national conversation about World War I,” said Dan Dayton, Executive Director of the Centennial Commission.
"Why should we care? Because we are all products of World War I. The entire country was involved— everyone has a story. The Commission’s goal is to inspire you to find your personal story and connection."
President Trump and senior US political and military figures have been invited, together with descendants of Great War veterans and the leaders of all the other countries involved in the conflict.
Ceremonies will include fly-pasts by US aircraft and the elite Patrouille de France air display team.
Entitled 'In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace: Centennial Commemoration of the U.S. Entry in World War I', the event will feature readings from the speeches, journalism, literature and poetry of 100 years ago about the decision to go to war.
The declaration of war (Image: US World War One Centennial Commission)
President Woodrow Wilson, who'd only recently been re-elected on a platform of 'He kept us out of War' was moved to act by the sinkings of US ships after Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare in February 1917.
"It is so important to understand the debate that was going on within the United States about entering World War l,” said World War I Centennial Commissioner Dr Monique Seefried.
"In reaching that decision, the nation became united for the first time in decades. Our goal was to bring peace to a world that had become inflamed. The subsequent decisions and actions taken 100 years ago helped shape and define the world we live in today."
Two million Americans served overseas. Of those, 116,516 were killed, more than in the Vietnam and Korean Wars combined.
“It’s a fitting tribute to those who served in the Great War that we commemorate the entry of the United States into World War I in the very same place where millions of visitors from across the world have paid tribute for nearly a century,” said National World War I Museum and Memorial President and CEO and World War l Commissioner Dr Matthew Naylor.
Source: US World War One Centennial Commission
Images courtesy of National World War I Museum & Memorial, Kansas City, Missouri; US World War One Centennial Commission - President Wilson's proclamation
Posted by: CN Editorial Team