State organizations will gather on April 6 in downtown Nashville to commemorate America’s entry into World War I on April 6, 1917.
The Declaration Day ceremony will honor all Tennesseans who served in WWI, often referred to as the Great War. It will also recognize the more than 3,400 Tennessee soldiers who lost their lives during the war. The event is organized by the Tennessee Great War Commission, Tennessee State Parks, the Tennessee State Museum and the Tennessee Department of Veterans Services.
“The Great War propelled Tennessee into the twentieth century,” said Dr. Michael Birdwell with the Tennessee Great War Commission, in a press release announcing the special event. “Although it was a war of staggering destruction and devastation, it also paved the way for enormous opportunities. Sergeant Alvin C. York earned a Medal of Honor along with five other Tennesseans and used his fame to improve public education across the state. The story of the war abroad and at home needs to be relearned for a new generation.”
Staff with Tennessee State Park’s Interpretive Programming and Education Division will be present in period uniforms of WWI doughboys. Reenactors will be distributing copies of the Gold Star records with the names of Tennesseans who lost their lives in the war. Tennessee National Guard will provide a color guard and bugler.
The first mass war of the twentieth century lasted four years – from 1914 to 1918. More than 100,000 Tennesseans volunteered or were drafted. In September 1925, the War Memorial Building was dedicated to commemorate those who served.
What: Commemoration of the U.S. entry into WWI
Who: Jeff Wells, Tennessee State Parks Director of Interpretive Programming and Education
Dr. Michael Birdwell, Tennessee Great War Commission Chair
Many-Bears Grinder, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Veterans Services
When: Thursday, April 6, 2017
Noon – Introduction by Jeff Wells, Master of Ceremonies
12:15 p.m. – Presentation of Colors and Pledge of Allegiance
12:30 p.m. – Remarks and Commemoration
Where: Courtyard of War Memorial Auditorium
301 6th Ave. N., Nashville TN 37243
For more information on the Tennessee Great War Commission, visit http://tnsos.net/TSLA/GWC/.