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World War I Centennial Commemoration

Saturday, April 8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Saturday, April 8, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

On Saturday, April 8, 2017, a large event commemorating World War I and the new exhibit North Carolina and World War I will take place in downtown Raleigh. The event is free (and so is parking on  the weekend in downtown Raleigh).

The day will begin with a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at the World War I section of the North Carolina Veterans Memorial on the State Capitol grounds with Governor Roy Cooper, the NC National Guard, World War I reenactors and attending dignitaries.

Afterward, a ribbon-cutting will officially open North Carolina and World War I at the N.C. Museum of History.

The day will feature a range of free family-oriented activities including: 

  • bagpiper dressed in World War I regalia, performing at the opening of the exhibit.
  • The North Carolina National Guard will be bringing two vehicles: a heavily armored Humvee and a 5-ton cargo truck. They will be parked along Edenton Street.
  • A mobile museum, the "History Machine," from the North Carolina National Guard Museum.
  • A film screening of historian and filmmaker Marc McClure's documentary, "Valor," about the life of North Carolinian Kiffin Rockwell at noon and 2 p.m.
  • 16 costumed reenactors.
  • The screening of clips from the Museum's own video series "585 Days, if You’re Lucky" will be at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. These clips (based on primary sources) share firsthand stories from the trenches, hospitals, and homes of those troubled times
  • A book signing by Research Historian Jessica Bandel of her new book, "North Carolina and the Great War, 1914-1918" from noon to 2 p.m.
  • A local knitting group knitting examples of “Knit for Sammie!”, items that were promoted by the American Red Cross during WW1.
  • Eight organization tables and two craft tables.

Organizations that will be participating in the WWI Opening event on April 8th include:

  • Red Cross of Eastern North Carolina
  • North Carolina National Guard Museum
  • North Carolina National Guard 
  • North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
  • North Carolina State Library
  • North Carolina State Archives
  • NC State College of Education
  • WUNC-TV/NC Public Television
  • North Carolina Museum of History Associates (Membership will be half-priced!)
  • North Carolina Department of Military and Veteran Affairs

This major exhibition commemorates the centennial of US entry into the “war to end all wars” and focuses on the western front in France and Belgium. Hundreds of artifacts and period photographs, a re-created trench environment, historical film footage, educational interactive components, and video reenactments tell the story of North Carolinians and Europeans who took part in the conflict.