U.S. kicks off series of events marking WWI centennial

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Representatives from all 50 U.S. states and overseas territories laid wreathes on Thursday before the U.S. National World War One Memorial newly completed in Washington D.C., kicking off nationwide events marking the end of World War I 100 years ago.

Amid melodious brass quintet played by a U.S. Army band, men and women, old and young, civilians and those in service, paid tribute to the Americans who served during WWI.

The war changed the world and should not be forgotten, Terry Hamby, chairman of the U.S. WWI Centennial Commission, told the audience at the ceremony, calling the national memorial, the first of its kind in the U.S. capital, a "long overdue tribute" to Americans serving in the war.

The wreath-laying tribute at the Pershing Park, near the White House, was held just days before the Armistice Day on Sunday.

Events paying tribute to female, African, Latino and native Americans on the frontlines and the homefront of WWI were also scheduled respectively before the memorial on Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning. Native Americans were not recognized as U.S. citizens at the start of WWI, but many volunteered to serve.

At 11:00 a.m. Saturday, a tolling of "Bells of Peace" in honor and remembrance of the 1918 pealing of bells for the WWI Armistice will be observed across the United States, according to the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission. Thousands of American groups and individuals have signed up to participate.

The WWI Armistice Film Festival, scheduled throughout Sunday, will showcase a number of WWI-themed films including "Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero", "Pershing's Path to Glory", "The Hello Girls" and "The Millionaires' Unit". A film titled "A Soldier's Journey" about the creation of the WWI memorial will run before each screening.

More than 4 million Americans served during World War I, among them more than 116,500 were killed and over 204,000 wounded, according to the the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission, established by the U.S. Congress in 2013.

The WWI Allies and Germany signed the armistice at Compiegne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of WWI, which took effect at the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918.

The armistice initially expired after a period of 36 days. A formal peace agreement was only reached when the Treaty of Versailles was signed the following year, according to the Wikipedia.

[ Editor: WPY ]
 

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