Awareness effort honors 4.7 million Americans who served in WW1 Armed Forces
Doughboys reenactors & volunteers to distribute poppy seed packets on Inauguration Day
By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission
There will be non-stop swirling activity in the Nation's Capital for the upcoming Presidential Inauguration on 20 January. In the midst of it all, will be teams of World War One Doughboy Reenactors & Volunteers with the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission. They will be handing out free poppy seed-packets, telling people about the Centennial Commission's education programs, commemorative events, and memorial preservation projects.They will also be posing for selfie photos.
Poppy flowers are a traditional symbol of veteran remembrance. The custom began 100 years ago, during World War One, with the worldwide popularity of the poem "In Flanders Fields" by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. The seeds are suitable for planting.
Americans played a major role in World War One, and in shaping the peace afterward. 4.7 million American men and women served in the U.S. military during World War One. 2 million of those people were deployed overseas to fight. 116,516 of those men and women never made it home. More Americans were lost in World War One than in the Vietnam War and the Korean War, combined.
The Centennial Commission was created by Congress in 2013 to mark the anniversary America's involvement in the war. The Commission was also authorized to create the new National World War One Memorial, in DC's Pershing Park -- which is on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, right on the Presidential Inauguration Parade Route.
The Centennial Commission operates entirely through private donation. Their founding sponsor is the Pritzker Military Museum and Library in Chicago, the largest private military research facility in the world. The Centennial Commission is also closely aligned with the National World War I Museum and Memorial, in Kansas City.