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Commission Presents a “First Look” at the National World War l Memorial, Washington, DC

The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission is honoring the more than 4 million Americans who served in during WWI, and the 116,525 men and women who sacrificed their lives, with a “First Look at the National World War l Memorial” program between November 8 and 12, 2018. The Memorial site will be open to the public each day beginning with a presentation of colors at 9 a.m. and concluding with “Taps” at sunset daily.

The “First Look Pavilion” will be open from 11am to 5pm each day for guests to see the memorial model, learn where the memorial will be constructed, and find out how to be part of the project. The “First Look” program also includes all the Special Events listed below which require free tickets to attend.

These commemoration events, in addition to providing a “First Look” at the future National World War l Memorial being built in Washington, DC, are designed to honor the more than four million Americans who served in uniform in WWI, and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Women joined the ranks of the U.S. armed forces for the first time, gaining the right to vote two years later. More than 350,000 African Americans served with distinction, as did Native Americans and immigrants. The U.S. experienced a casualty rate of 375,000–far greater than in World War II–and 116,516 fatalities, more than during the Korean and Vietnam Wars combined. It was a remarkable time in the history of our nation, with results still felt today.

Calendar of Special Events

November 8, 2018

11:00 a.m. – The Nation Served: Wreath Laying Tribute to the States and Territories

This ceremony launches a series of commemorative events giving a first look at the National World War l Memorial, Washington, DC and marks the Centennial of the Armistice that ended World War I. Representatives from each state and territory will place a wreath in the park to honor and remember all who served. Click here to order free tickets to this Special Event.

Program highlights:

  • Wreaths placed by representatives of all States and Territories
  • Remarks by Veterans Affairs’ Secretary, Robert Wilkie
  • Performance by Pershing’s Own Brass Quintet
2:00 p.m. – Women in Wartime: Tribute to the Women of WWI

This event honors the women who supported the war efforts. The women of World War I demonstrated their ability to take on traditionally male roles and paved the way for future service of women in the U.S. military. Click here to order free tickets to this Special Event.

Program highlights:

  • Screening of “The Soldier’s Journey” film about the WWI National Memorial
  • Wreath laying ceremony at the General Pershing Statue by noted veteran and active duty women of various services including Admiral Michelle Howard, USN (Ret.) and Brig. General Wilma Vaught, USAF (Ret.)
4:00 p.m. – The Heroic Legacy: African Americans and Latinos of WWI

The war directly impacted all minorities, male and female, soldier and civilian. This event honors the sacrifice and service of minorities during WWI. Click here to order free tickets to this Special Event.

Program highlights:

  • Presentation on the WWI Valor Medals Review Program
  • Reenactment and theatrical performance by The Ebony Doughboys
  • Remarks by Col. Gerald York (Grandson of Sgt. Alvin York, one of the most decorated United States Army soldiers of World War I.)
  • Performance by the 369th Experience Band, a recreation of the 369th Regimental band, 65 African American and Puerto Rican soldiers who brought jazz to Europe

November 9, 2018

12:00 p.m. –Tribute to the Homefront

Though the war abroad meant daily life on the homefront was drastically altered, those at home seized any opportunity to aid the war efforts.
This event honors the contributions of organizations that served on the homefront during the extraordinary times of World War I. Click here to order free tickets to this Special Event.

Program highlights:

  • Purple Hearts Reunited Presentation
  • Screening of “The Soldier’s Journey”
  • Conversation with Sabin Howard and Joe Weishaar, sculptor and designer of the National World War l Memorial, Washington, DC (Designer)

November 10, 2018

11:00 a.m. – Bravest of the Brave: The Native Americans of WWI

When the United States entered World War I, Native Americans were not yet citizens. Though they could not be drafted, Native American men volunteered to serve. This event recognizes the courageous contributions Native Americans made on behalf of our nation throughout World War I. Click here to order free tickets to this Special Event.

Program highlight:

  • Performance and blessing of the Memorial site by Ralph Zotigh, Kiowa tribal elder and descendant of World War l veteran
  • Remarks by Joseph Keel, President of the National Congress of American Indians, and retired U.S. Army officer

November 11, 2018

10:00 a.m. Veterans Day Sacred Interfaith Service Washington National Cathedral – Open to the public
11:00 a.m. Nationwide Bells of Peace

Bells of Peace event invites everyone nationwide to toll bells in honor and remembrance of the 1918 pealing of bells for the World War I Armistice.

2:00 p.m. – Military and Veterans Salute (Open House)

The World War One Commission provides the opportunity to give long overdue recognition to America’s sons and daughters who served in the Great War, including the more than 204,000 Americans who returned home wounded and the 116,516 who never returned. This day honors the veterans of World War I and all the conflicts that followed. The event reminds us of the service and sacrifice of military members and veterans will never be forgotten. Click here to order free tickets to this Special Event.

Program highlights:

  • Screening of “The Soldier’s Journey”
  • Theatrical performance by the Ebony Doughboys
  • Performance by 369th Experience Band Concert

November 12, 2018

10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. – The World War I Armistice Film Festival

The film festival will showcase a diverse collection of World War I-themed films to enrich viewers’ experience and bring to life this momentous time in our nation’s history. Beginning at 10 a.m., the film festival will screen the films listed below. ("A Soldier's Journey" will play before each film.) Click here to order free tickets for the Film Festival.

"A Soldier's Journey" 9:45 a.m. | 12:00 p.m. | 1:30 p.m. | 3:00 p.m. |10 min Premiere

The premiere showings of the new US World War I Commission sponsored short film which tells the story of World War I through the elements of the sculpture being created by sculptor Sabin Howard for the National World War I Memorial.

"Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero" 10:00 a.m. | PG | 1h 24min | Animated Film

The fully animated feature film that tells the true story about a dog and his Doughboy in World War I. This wonderfully made movie is an ideal draw to bring entire families and their kids into the commemoration of the Armistice.

"Pershing's Path to Glory" 12:00 p.m. | 40min | Documentary

A new documentary film that traces the story of Blackjack Pershing, the General who led American forces in World War I.

"Lafayette Escadrille" Preview 12:00 p.m. | 10 min | Documentary, Action, History

From the producers of The Millionaires’ Unit, we will offer a preview of the first comprehensive documentary about the Lafayette Escadrille, the all-true story of the American pilots who volunteered to fly for France in World War I.

"The Hello Girls" 1:30 p.m. | 55min | Documentary

A new documentary playing to standing room only audiences around the country. It's the inspiring story about the first women to serve in the US Army and their 60-year struggle to get their veteran's benefits and their 100-year struggle for deserved recognition.

“The Millionaires’ Unit” 3:00 p.m. | 2h | Documentary, Action, History

The award-winning documentary about a privileged group of college students from Yale who formed a private air militia in preparation for America’s entry into World War I. They became the founding squadron of the U.S. Naval Air Reserve and were the first to fly for the United States in WWI.

About the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission

The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission was created by Congress in 2013 to provide education programs, public outreach, and guidance for commemorative events regarding America's involvement in WWI, which many see as The War That Changed the World. Honorary Chairs include all five living former U.S. Presidents; the Honorable Madeleine Albright; and the Honorable Colin L. Powell, among others.

The World War One Centennial Commission is creating the National WWI Memorial in Washington, DC through private donation. No public funds may be used. Visit to learn more about the World War One Centennial Commission and its work; for America's WWI Memorial in Washington DC; for veteran resources; connect with the Commission on;; and (@WW1CC).

The Commission’s founding sponsor is the Pritzker Military Museum and Library in Chicago, Ill. To learn more, visit

The Commission's leading sponsor is the Starr Foundation. Information can be found at

Information about Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC, can be found here

Information about the American Legion can be found here

Information about the Veterans of Foreign Wars can be found here

The 369th Experience is sponsored, in part, by the Coca Cola Foundation. Information on the Coca Cola Foundation can be found here