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A First Look Logo



The World War One Centennial Commission invites the public to visit the site of the National World War Memorial, Washington, DC between November 8 and 12 for a “First Look at the National World War l Memorial.” 

The Memorial site will be open to the public beginning with a presentation of colors at 9 a.m. and concluding with “Taps” at sunset daily, November 8-12. Visitors will see the memorial design, learn where the memorial will be constructed, and learn how to be part of the project. The “First Look” program will also include a series of special events as noted below.



National World War I Memorial, Washington, DC
Pershing Park
14th St and Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20045

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 marking 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.

Program highlights:

  • Wreaths placed by representatives of all States and Territories 
  • Concert 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.

Program highlights:

  • Screening of “The Soldier’s Journey” film about 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.

Program highlights:

  • Presentation by Medal of Valor Program
  • Reenactment and theatrical performance by The Ebony Doughboys
  • Remarks by 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 men 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.

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.

Program highlight:

  •  Performance and blessing of the Memorial site by Ralph Zotigh, Kiowa tribal elder and descendant of World War l veteran


November 11, 2018

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. This event reminds us of the service and sacrifice of military members and veterans will never be forgotten.

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. – WWI Armistice Film Festival

The film festival will showcase a diverse collection of World War I-themed films that will 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 in attachment.

"A Soldier's Journey" Special Short shown before each feature
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.

 "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.

Lafayette Escadrille Preview | 10 min |
From the producers of The Millionaires’ Unit we will be offering 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 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.

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