In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace

Centennial Commemoration of the U.S. Entry into World War I April 6, 2017
Sepia picture of a large crowd of people filling the mall in front of the Liberty Memorial.

The National WWI Museum and Memorial is honored to host America's national ceremony commemorating the centennial of the United States' entry into the Great War. Produced by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, the ceremony, In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace: Centennial Commemoration of the U.S. Entry into World War I, will be held on April 6, 2017 at the Museum and Memorial.

The national commemorative ceremony will tell the compelling story of the U.S decision to enter into the Great War through a unique multi-media program including significant and representative American writings of a century ago, including selections from speeches, journalism, literature and poetry, as well as performances of important music of the time. Invited participants and guests include the President of the United States, international Heads of State and diplomats, military leaders, veterans’ organizations, and national and state elected officials. Information on entrance times, prohibited items, ceremony schedule, and more is available here.

Tickets are now sold out


Watch the livestream


You can watch the YouTube livestream of the ceremony on April 6, 2017, the pre-ceremony begins at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by the ceremony at 10:45 a.m.

Designated by the U.S. Congress in 2004 as the official museum dedicated to WWI and in 2014 as America’s National WWI Museum and Memorial, the Museum and Memorial is uniquely positioned to host the official Commission event. Read the full press release.

The Museum and Memorial will be closed on Wednesday, April 5, and Thursday, April 6, 2017, in conjunction with preparations for the ceremony.


About The Ceremony

The commemorative ceremony is a multi-media production illustrating America’s step-by-step decision to enter the war. A creative team led by artistic director Ed Bilous has adapted historic images and music of the period into a 90-minute mixture of live performance and film to be broadcast on giant screens at the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

The colorful and awe-inspiring ceremony will also include commemorative flyovers by U.S. aircraft and Patrouille de France, the precision aerobatic demonstration team of the French Air Force, as well as the U.S. First Infantry Division Band and Color Guard, Native American Color Guard, Army and Air Force legacy units that served during World War I, and special video presentations and musical performances from the World War l period.

The show features powerful musical moments under the direction of Michelle DiBucci, including the world premiere of two historic songs, a special appearance by members of the Kansas City Symphony and two U.S. military bands. Notable performers participating in the event include Kevin Costner, solo R&B recording artists Billy Cliff and Lisa Fischer, baritone John Brancy with pianist Peter Dugan, and Kansas City Lyric Opera featured artist Samantha Gossard.


April 6 Colloquium

Join us for a livestream of a pair of engaging discussions on the Centennial anniversary of American entry into World War I, broadcasting starting at 2:30 p.m. CDT on April 6, 2017.

2:30 p.m.: Why the U.S. Entered WWI (and Should It Have Done So?)

U.S. World War I Centennial Commission Chairman Robert Dalessandro moderates a discussion with Dr. Monique Seefriedand former journalist/professor Dr. John Hamilton.

3:40 p.m.: How do we Build Peace after a Great Conflict?

Journalist/novelist David Ignatius moderates a discussion with Middle East expert Emma Sky and journalist/author Evan Thomas.



Founding Sponsor

Pritzker Military Museum and Library

Presenting Sponsor

Veterans of Foreign Wars

Generously Sponsored by

The American Legion
City of Kansas City, Missouri
Lockton Companies

Kansas City Southern Railway  •  Ash Grove Cement Company
Burns & McDonnell  •  Commerce Bank
James B. Nutter & Co.  •  UMB
DST Systems Inc.  •  The Illig Family Foundation