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In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace:
Centennial Commemoration of the U.S. Entry into World War I

Hosted by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission
at the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, MO

April 6, 2017  - Ceremony and Clips

In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace - Ceremony - full length
"National Anthem" / PAF Flyover
"National Anthem” / PAF Flyover

John Brancy, Baritone,
with the 1st Infantry Division Band,
as the Patrouille de France flies over

"If He Can Fight Like He Can Love" - copy
"If He Can Fight Like He Can Love"

with Samantha Gossard (Vocal), Alla Wijnands (violin), Bram Wijnands (piano).

The Great Debate
The Great Debate

Presented by:
Narrator — John Rensenhouse
Theodore Roosevelt —Victor Raider-Wexler
Woodrow Wilson — Dale Morehouse

Declaration of war - A solemn Moment
Declaration of War - A Solemn Moment

Narrator –– John Rensenhouse, followed by a moment of silence;
a B-2 from the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base;
the "Tolling of the Bell", by Christopher T. McLaurin, Principal Percussionist, Kansas City Symphony, finishing with a canon salute
led by Artillery Master Charles B. Wood.

Duet: Mothers
Duet: Mothers' Songs

"American Here's My Boy" (vocalist Chris Poland) and
"I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be a Soldier" (Vocalist Ramona Dunlap)

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In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace - Ceremony - full length
"National Anthem" / PAF Flyover
"If He Can Fight Like He Can Love"  - copy
The Great Debate
Declaration of war - A solemn Moment
Duet: Mothers
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april6 icon image 880

On April 6, 1917, the United States officially entered World War I, a war that changed the nation and the world forever. On April 6, 2017, thousands in attendance, as well as those watching video across the nation and around the world, joined the United States in commemorating this turning point in our nation’s and the world’s history with the “In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace: Centennial Commemoration of the U.S. Entry into World War I” ceremony, hosted by the United States World War One Centennial Commission at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri.

This international ceremony consisted principally of the reading of passages from significant and representative American writings of a century ago about the U.S. decision to enter the war, including selections from speeches, journalism, literature, poetry, and performance of important music of the time. Heads of State from eight nations read passages reflecting the reaction of their respective nations to the U.S. entry into the war in 1917. “In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace” also included flyovers by U.S. aircraft and Patrouille de France, as well as military bands, color guards, ceremonial units, and video productions. Students across the nation also participated in this historic event, learning how WWI changed the United States and the world.

Centennial Commission Signature EventNoteable attendees included Secretary of the Army Roberrt M. Speer; Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II; Missouri Governor Eric Grietens; ambassadors of nations involved in Wold War I; veterans organizations, including those representing historic U.S. military units; descendants of significant American WWI figures, including Helen Patton, Sandra Pershing, Deborah York and Noble Sissle, Jr.; and other organizations, dignitaries, and VIPs. The Heads of State of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and the United Kingdom read passages from their respective countries during the Ceremony. 

About the Ceremony

doiughboy colorguard 440The commemorative ceremony was a multi-media production illustrating America’s step by step decision to enter the war. A creative team led by artistic director Ed Bilous adapted historic images and music of the period into a 90-minute mixture of live performance and film to be broadcast on giant screens at the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

The colorful and awe-inspiring ceremony also included commemorative flyovers by U.S. aircraft and Patrouille de France, the precision aerobatic demonstration team of the French Air Force, as well as the U.S. First Infantry Division Band and Color Guard, Native American Color Guard, Army and Air Force legacy units that served during World War I, and special video presentations and musical performances from the World War l period.

The show featured powerful musical moments under the direction of Michelle DiBucci, including the world premiere of two historic songs, a special appearance by members of the Kansas City Symphony and two US military bands. Notable performers who participated in the event included Kevin Costner, solo R&B recording artists Billy Cliff and Lisa Fischer, baritone John Brancy with pianist Peter Dugan, and Kansas City Lyric Opera featured artist Samantha Gossard.


In the afternoon of April 6, a distinguished colloquium will feature notable scholars and former high-ranking diplomats discussing what brought the United States into World War I, and what lessons on ending large conflicts can be learned from the war’s results. Attendance at the colloquium is by invitation only. The colloquium will be be streamed live on the Internet. Click here for more information on watching the colloquium live on April 6.

April 6, 2017  - Colloquium Video Playback


Educational resources and opportunities

Students across the nation will be able to participate in this historic event which will be live-streamed, learning how WWI changed the United States and the world through both the performance and available educational materials.