In honor of the day the United States entered the war on April 6, 1917, VA’s National Cemetery Administration (NCA) will host wreath-laying ceremonies this week to commemorate and honor the 353,082 World War I Veterans interred in VA national cemeteries across the country. A complete listing of cemeteries and times is available on NCA’s website for those who would like to participate and show their respect for America’s Doughboys — click here for the list of events.
The observance is a part of the U.S World War One Centennial Commission’s effort to commemorate and educate the U.S. public about the service and sacrifices of Americans during The Great War. VA is a proud partner in that effort.
“World War I was a terrible global conflict that was fought between July 28, 1914, and Nov. 11, 1918. Some 50 countries were involved in fighting that spanned across Europe, Asia and Africa, and on the seas around the world. The United States entered the war on April 6, 1917. During 18-months of American involvement, more than four million Americans served in the military, and two million of them deployed overseas. 116,516 American service members died during the war, and 204,000 more were wounded,” according to the Commission’s website. “The United States played a significant role in the peace afterward, helping to shape the Treaty of Versailles. The war, and its aftermath, made enormous impact on the world – it dramatically shifted national borders, it brought new technology to industry and transportation, it changed attitudes toward women in the workplace, and it created new movements in the arts. The war’s effects are still with us, today, 100 years later.”
the nation said goodbye to America’s last living connection to WWI, Frank Buckles, who passed away on Feb. 27, 2011, at 110-years old. Buckles lied about his age to enlist in the U.S. Army so he could join the fight in Europe. He served in both England and France as an ambulance driver. A brief description of Buckles’ life in his own words is available here, including a brief account of being held prisoner of war by the Japanese during WWII as a civilian.
While VA traces it’s roots back to President Lincoln’s famous charge, to care for those “who shall have borne the battle,” it was WWI, and the returning Veterans, that played a pivotal role in the to creation of VA’s a national system of comprehensive benefits and health care for Veterans.
If you wish to participate in one of the commemorative events taking place across the country to honor these Veterans, visit NCA’s website for site and date information for the nearest participating VA National Cemetery.