Centennial Commission Chair Robert Dalessandro (left) and the Belgian Ambassador to the US, Dirk Wouters, shake hands on the agreement in the Pershing Room of the Army and Navy Club, Washington DC (Photo: US WW1 Centennial Commission

US Centennial Commission signs partnership deal with Belgium

Posted on centenarynews.com on 04 October 2016
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America's Centennial Commission and the Belgian Federal Government have signed an agreement to 'share experience, knowledge and technical means' as they prepare for commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of US entry into the First World War.

The United States declared war on Germany in April 1917. 

But as German troops invaded Belgium in 1914, American philanthropists led by the future President, Herbert Hoover, started one of the largest global humanitarian campaigns ever planned. The Commission for Relief in Belgium fed millions of Belgian civilians during the German occupation.

100 years on, Robert Dalessandro, Chair of the US World War I Centennial Commission, and Dirk Wouters, Belgian Ambassador to the United States, signed the Centenary partnership agreement in Washington.

The ceremony took place on 26 September 2016 in the Army and Navy Club's Pershing Room, named after General John Pershing, the American Great War commander.


"In the face of rising sectarianism around the world, WWI reminds us that peace is a constant effort, and helps us realise how far we have come," said Ambassador Wouters. 

"'A peaceful Europe, a unified Europe, a democratic Europe', in the words of King Philippe, was the dream of generations…. Let’s stay committed to European, transatlantic and international cooperation, let’s work hard every day to deepen our ties, let’s make sure the next generation knows where exacerbated nationalism and isolationism can lead."

In 2014, President Obama joined King Philippe of the Belgians in paying tribute to America's Fallen at the Flanders Field American Cemetery in Waregem.

The US Centennial Commission has already signed a partnership agreement with the Flanders regional government of Belgium.

Chair Robert Dalessandro said: "The sacrifices of World War I brought enormous changes to the world, with the colossal shifts of entire nations. These sacrifices also brought huge developments in diplomacy, communication, technology, medicine, transportation, and the arts; developments that made the world a smaller place, and ushered the modern age that we have today. 

"The stories of these changes must be told. The lessons from these developments must be studied. They must all be passed on to our future generations. This is why we are honoured, and thrilled, to join with the People of Belgium, to tell these important stories of World War I, and to bring them forward to our children, and beyond."

More information about First World War sites and commemorations in Flanders can be found here.

Source: United States World War One Centennial Commission

Images courtesy of US WWI Centennial Commission

Posted by: CN Editorial Team