If you haven't visited Arlington National Cemetery's Welcome Center lately, you'll notice some changes on your next visit. In a joint Effort with the American Battle Monuments Commission, ANC unveiled its new World War I exhibit in an official grand opening ceremony Friday, March 31.
In a joint effort with the American Battle Monuments Commission, ANC will unveil its new World War I Exhibit in an official grand opening ceremony Friday, March, 31 at 8 a.m. (U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue)
The joint exhibit commemorates the 100th anniversary of America's involvement in the First World War. The exhibit focuses on the American experience in the war, an how ANC and ABMC were focal points for remembrance and commemorations of the Great War. The exhibit is thematic in nature, covering everything from the arrivial of the U.S. on the battlefield, to the influence of technology on the war, from the experiences of African-Americans and women during the war.
There is also a special emphasis on the repatriation of fallen service members back to the U.S. and Arlington National Cemetery, as well as the creation of ABMC cemeteries overseas.
"This is the first time Arlington National Cemetery has created a large-scale thematic exhibit in the Welcome Center," said Christopher Warren, Arlington National Cemetery historian. "This exhibit educates our visitors not only on the history of ANC, but also on how a specific conflict changed the very nature of commemoration in the United States. Visitors will learn how the First World War affected the American public and how the aftermath of the Great War still influences us today."
For the United States, more than 4 million Americans served in the armed forces during World War I and approximately 116,000 died from combat and disease. In U.S. history, only the Civil War and World War II had a greater casualty count.
Beyond the number of casualties, WWI fundamentally changed the relationship between the American public and the federal government. This was the first war fought on the European continent by American service members, requiring hundreds of thousands of Americans to create the size of military needed to combat the Central Powers.