New Website Launched and Events Planned Across the State to Commemorate 100th Anniversary of World War I
Governor Proclaims April 6, 2017 a Day to Honor and Remember the Sacrifices Made By New York State and New Yorkers in World War I
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I with the launch of a new World War I Centennial website. Additionally, a series of events will take place across the state at historic sites and museums in honor of the more than 500,000 New Yorkers who served during the war. Commemorative events will be held through November 11, 2018 — the centennial of the signing of the Armistice ending the War.
"We will forever remember the sacrifice of our U.S. Armed Forces, and the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who risked their lives to preserve the freedoms and ideals this state and nation were founded upon in WWI," Governor Cuomo said. “As we commemorate the centennial of WWI with the launch of this new website, I encourage everyone to honor our veterans and help us preserve the legacies of those who served.”
“The 100th Anniversary of the United States’ involvement in World War I reminds us of the bravery and sacrifice of 500,000 New Yorkers who courageously served their state and nation, and the 13,956 who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who attended the commemoration ceremony. “Today we recognize New York’s unique contribution to the Great War, a conflict that saw America take its first steps as a leader on the world stage.”ý
In remembrance of the 500,000 New Yorkers who served, and the 13,956 who lost their lives, Governor Cuomo proclaimed April 6, 2017, a day to honor and remember the sacrifices made by New York State and New Yorkers in World War I. In addition, the 48-star flag from 1917 will be flown at the New York State Capitol in honor of veterans of WWI. To view the proclamation, click here.
100th Anniversary Centennial Website
The website launched today commemorates the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I, and provides information on WWI-related events and exhibits across the state. The website also features resources to explore the role New York and New Yorkers played in the war, and a digital tour of New York historic sites connected to the war. Visitors can search through the Roll of Honor that includes more than 13,000 New Yorkers who died in the First World War, profiles of the 25 New Yorkers who were awarded the Medal of Honor – the nation’s highest military honor – and information on regiments that served.
On the website, New Yorkers are encouraged to share stories and photos of loved ones who served in the war, or submit an event that honors those who served. Visit www.ny.gov/WWI to learn more.
World War I Commemorative Events and Exhibits
A wide variety of events and educational programs will be held at historic sites and museums across the state to remember the sacrifices made by New Yorkers during World War I. Events will be held through November 11, 2018 — the centennial of the signing of the Armistice ending the War.
Twenty-three New York libraries, more than in any other state, won Library of America “World War I and America” grants to hold public programs designed to bring veterans and their families together with the general public to explore the war’s continued relevance. Among the New York libraries to receive the grants are the Slate Valley Museum, Granville; Greater Astoria Historical Society, Queens; Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in partnership with the FDR Presidential Library, New York; St. Joseph’s College, New York; Callahan Library, Patchogue; St. Thomas Aquinas College, Sparkill; and the Warner Library, Tarrytown.
In addition, every two months, an exhibit in the War Room of the New York State Capitol will feature different WWI letters and aspects of the war, including training at state camps, New York’s integral role in developing combat aviation, nurses, American Field Service ambulance driver volunteers, and the base hospital at Fort Ontario. Visit the new website for a list of events at: www.ny.gov/WWI.
Commission Chair Rose Harvey said, “New York and New Yorkers played a critical role in fighting what everyone hoped would be the “War to end all Wars,” from providing soldiers and supplies, to building planes and training pilots, and providing care to the injured. Even before America entered the war on April 6, 1917, New Yorkers were volunteering to drive ambulances to aid the Allied cause. During and after the war was over, New Yorkers played important roles in establishing the American Legion and veterans’ affairs. There are no surviving members of the military from WWI, but we can recognize and honor their service on this centennial, and commemorate the tradition of service above self that has been passed down through generations of New Yorkers to the present day.”
Major General Anthony German, the Adjutant General of New York said, "WWI made the National Guard the integral component of the American military that it is today. National Guard divisions – including New York's 27th Division and the 42nd Division which organized here in New York – both served with distinction. New York National Guardsmen like Sgt. Henry Johnson, and Lt. Col. William "Wild Bill" Donovan - who won medals for heroism – set an example of heroism and self-sacrifice during the war, inspiring American Soldiers today. The legacy of World War 1 remains with us today and it's fitting that we mark this centennial for our Soldiers, our Airmen our nation and our state."
Division of Veterans’ Affair Director Eric J. Hesse said, “New York played a pivotal role in America’s defense of the ideals of freedom and democracy. The New Yorkers who served during World War I faced a conflict that the world had never previously seen. They faced this challenge with courage and grace, for their service and actions we are eternally grateful. On this 100th Anniversary commemorating the United States entry into World War I, it important to remember the hero Veterans like Father Duffy and Henry Johnson who after their valiant service to our country, returned to New York to continue their work through public service to their state. It is the tradition of Veterans then and now to keep this spirit of service far beyond their Military experience and we honor that today as well.”
State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said, “We’re proud to present an exhibition about New York’s role in World War I at the State Museum. The exhibition features posters, artifacts, and documents from the State Museum, Library, and Archives – as well as from institutions across the state – that reveal the major role New York played in the war and the lasting impacts the conflict had at home and throughout the world. I encourage educators to utilize this exhibition to teach our students about this pivotal event in New York and American history.”
Deputy Commissioner of Cultural Education and State Museum Director Mark Schaming said, “We’re pleased to open A Spirit of Sacrifice: New York State in the First World War at the State Museum on April 15. No other state contributed more soldiers, supplies, and funds to the United States’ efforts in World War I than New York State. This exhibition is an opportunity for all New Yorkers and Americans to learn and reflect on the events of World War I and understand the impacts of the war in New York, the nation, and the world.”
New York Army National Guard Retired Maj. General and President of the Harlem Hellfighters Historical Society Nathaniel James said, “The 369th gained their glory while fighting with the French 4th Army. The French Army had Moroccans troops and didn’t have the color problem that the U.S. Army had at that time. The 369th became the most decorated unit in World War One, earning the honor to be the first to cross over and occupy a German Town in Germany after the fighting stopped. They returned with great honors with a parade up 5th Avenue in New York City.”