Robert Dalessandro speaking at the WFA East Coast Branch's World War I History Symposium

Warning that America is "way behind" in commemorating Centennial

Posted on on 06 November 2013
Share |

A senior member of the Commission charged with overseeing America's commemorations for the Centenary of the First World War has given a clear signal that he wants the United States to intensify its planning for the Centennial. 

Robert Dalessandro, Vice-Chairman of the US World War 1 Centennial Commission, gave an update on progress when he spoke at a symposium organised by the Western Front Association's East Coast branch on October 12th 2013.

"The US is way behind" Mr Dalessandro told his audience in Pennsylvania. He urged those present to become what he called "apostles," helping to teach young people about a war that had fundamentally changed the nation.

More than four million Americans served in uniform after the country entered the First World War in 1917. The United States suffered 375,000 casualties, including more than 116, 000 deaths.

Mr Dalessandro, a retired Colonel, is Executive Director of the US Army's Center of Military History in Washington. His speech to the symposium focussed on the role played by African Americans in the American Expeditionary Force.

The US World War 1 Centennial Commission was established under legislation signed by President Obama at the start of 2013. But it didn't officially meet for the first time until September 13th. By then all the commissioners had been appointed and they were sworn in at the National World War 1 Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City.

The body has a wide range of responsibilities, including the coordination of Centennial events throughout the United States and producing recommendations for the White House and Congress. But it's not allowed to use Federal funds for its activities. The twelve commissioners serve without pay.

Centenary News' Dr Jillian Davidson attended the Western Front Association's East Coast Symposium in York, Pennsylvania. To read her full report, click here.

Images courtesy of the WFA East Coast Branch

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News