RALEIGH, N.C. – In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I, Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed 2017-2018 as World War I Centennial Years in North Carolina to facilitate the commemoration of this important anniversary. The proclamation is available to view online.
The United States entered the First World War on April 6, 1917, upon passage of a declaration of war by the United States Congress. North Carolinians, both at home and abroad, played important roles throughout the conflict, from the war’s beginnings through the day armistice was declared on Nov. 11, 1918.
͞More than 86,000 North Carolinians enrolled in the military to fight in World War I, and the state contributed to the war effort in countless ways both in Europe and here at home, said Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susi H. Hamilton. ͞From serving with the Red Cross and Salvation Army, to working in manufacturing plants, to growing victory gardens and buying war bonds, our citizens were an invaluable part of the Great War.
Special events are planned for April 7 and 8 to commemorate the centennial and remember the courage and sacrifice of those citizens who rallied to the cause one hundred years ago.
Saturday, April 8 at 10 a.m., Governor Roy Cooper will preside over a wreath-laying ceremony with members of the North Carolina National Guard and other dignitaries at the WWI section of the North Carolina Veterans Memorial on the grounds of the State Capitol building in Raleigh.
Following the wreath-laying ceremony, attendees will cross the street to the North Carolina Museum of History to the inviting melodies of a bagpiper dressed in WWI regalia. There, dignitaries will cut the ribbon to officially open the groundbreaking new exhibit North Carolina and World War One, featuring full-sized, immersive trenches, interactive video and over 500 artifacts from European and American soldiers. The museum will host a full day of free family-oriented events, with costumed re-enactors, film screenings and hands-on craft tables, as well as historic interpreters, veterans’ representatives, armored vehicles from the National Guard and more.
Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8, the North Carolina Symphony—with Music Director Grant Llewellyn, the North Carolina Master Chorale, Raleigh Boychoir, and vocal soloists Tamara Wilson, Nicholas Phan, and Stephen Powell—will present special performances of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem at Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh. The War Requiem masterfully intersperses the text of the traditional Latin Requiem Mass with poetry about the devastation of war that was written by Wilfred Owen while he served in World War I. The work is a tremendous artistic undertaking, with more than 200 musicians performing.
Pre-concert activities in the Meymandi Concert Hall lobby will provide historical context for Britten’s music. Living history interpreters from the Great War Tar Heels will be present in uniform, and concertgoers will be among the first to have the opportunity to view a traveling exhibit, which will then make its way to locations all across the state throughout the year. Pre-concert talks with Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources Deputy Secretary Kevin Cherry and Jessica A. Bandel, research historian for the department’s Historical Research Office, will take place both evenings. Visit ncsymphony.org for tickets and more information.
North Carolina will commemorate the centennial of World War I through 2018 with a variety of special events, programs and publications designed to highlight North Carolina’s role in the war. Follow the Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources’͞North Carolina in WWI͟ topic online to keep up with upcoming events, subscribe to our blog, and view items from the WWI collection of the North Carolina State Archives.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.
NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.