Poppy seeds highlight WW1 Centennial on US Inauguration Day

Posted on centenarynews.com on 21 January 2017
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The US World War I Centennial Commission handed out thousands of poppy seed packets during the Presidential inauguration in Washington to highlight America's Great War commemorations.

Ahead of the April centenary of the US declaration of war in 1917, teams of volunteers and re-enactors were out on the streets as part of a continuing campaign to raise public awareness of WW1CC events and projects. 

"Thanks to these great volunteers, our veterans are not forgotten," the Centennial Commission said. 7,500 packets of Flanders poppy seeds were distributed in the US capital as President Donald Trump took office on 20 January 2017. 

The inauguration parade route passed Pershing Park, the site for the new National World War One Memorial being created by WW1CC just a short distance from the White House.

Entitled The Weight of Sacrifice, the commemorative wall and sculpture will honour the 4.7 million Americans who served during the First World War, two million of them overseas. Of those, 116,516 were killed, more than in the Vietnam and Korean Wars combined.

The WW1CC team handing out remembrance poppy seeds, and telling the World War I story, at Washington DC's Union Station (Photo: US World War I Centennial Commission)

100 years ago, events were unfolding which would trigger the end of American neutrality between the warring European powers.

In January 1917, British intelligence experts intercepted and decoded the Zimmermann telegram, Germany's offer of an alliance with Mexico if the United States entered hostilities. 

The German resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare in February, coupled with the telegram's disclosure, fuelled the US decision to declare war on 6 April 1917.

Information & images:  US World War I Centennial Commission

Posted by: CN Editorial Team