As a leading initiative of the Commemoration, the Commission will work with partner organizations to sponsor, create and host public programs and events at venues across the country, in addition to serving as a clearinghouse for the collection and dissemination of information about events and plans for the centennial of the First World War. This information will be available on-line via the web-site and other social media outlets.
Symposia, Lectures And Other Events
In partnership with other organizations, the Commission intends to sponsor an annual series of symposia on specific aspects of the First World War and on the lessons to be learned from the war. The symposia will be targeted to the general public and history enthusiasts alike. Recognizing that physical attendance at symposia is limited, proceedings will be available on-line via webcasts and downloads. Related papers and other materials will also be available for distribution to educators and the general public.
Additionally, the Commission website is gathering and organizing a collection of Centennial events being created by other organizations, States, Museum, Universities and other organizations. These can be explored on the website under EVENTS.
Family Ties: The Genealogy Project
The Commission has begun an initiative to create a program for gathering names and stories of WWI veterans. Families would be invited to send in photos and information about their loved ones that served during the war, creating a digital database similar to that produced for veterans from the Vietnam and WWII eras. This information is being collected and available for viewing on-line and in publications.
The Commission will organize other commemorative events to be held throughout the country during the Centennial period. Some tentatively scheduled events will highlight the anniversaries of specific events of the war, such as the beginning of the war, the U.S. declaration of war, major engagements of U.S. forces, and the armistice.
The Commission will coordinate memorial services at the National Cathedral in Washington and at Arlington National Cemetery, and at churches, cemeteries and memorials around the country, in recognition of the centennial anniversary of Armistice Day, November 11, 1918. In addition, the Commission plans to partner with other organizations to organize a ticker tape parade and tall ship review in New York City, during the annual Fleet Week, to “welcome home the doughboys,” and to pursue additional plans to commemorate World War I in conjunction with major parades, such as the Macy’s and Rose Bowl Parades, and sporting events such as the World Series, National Football League games, and NASCAR races.
Arts & Culture Collaboration
The Commission will engage with museums, libraries and other arts and culture organizations to create and plan special programming and traveling exhibitions to tour across the United States and abroad. Telling a story through artifacts, works of art and musical compositions is an effective way to show the human side of war, and how its impact was felt far off the battlefield.
The Kansas City Symphony has been commissioned to create a WW1 symphony to be performed live in 2015. In addition, several opera companies have been scheduled to perform Silent Night, a WWI inspired opera, during the Centennial years in cities throughout the country.
While nearly four million American families were directly touched by the war, all Americans were asked to “do your bit.” Farmers were called upon to feed the troops, and industry developed new technologies and innovations for building ships, vehicles, weapons and supplies. All Americans will be invited to join in the Commemoration, and Commemoration activities will be coordinated with relevant groups including foreign centennial agencies, military and veterans groups, federal/state/local governments, museums and libraries, schools and universities, corporations, and foundations.
The Commission’s Centennial observance is providing new opportunities for partnerships with other cultural organizations internationally. The Commission is endorsing the rehabilitation project at the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial near Paris, and is working directly with the UK and France on suitable memorials for the ‘Unknown Soldier.” Potential collaborations also exist with the Flanders House, the American Field Service, and the Imperial War Museum, among others.