On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson formally asked Congress to declare war against Germany, telling those assembled that “the world must be made safe for democracy.” Four days later, Congress voted 82 to 6 to declare war on Germany, bringing the United States into World War I.
Over the next one year, seven months and ten days, 116,516 American soldiers died and 204,002 were wounded. According to the North Carolina State Archives, 2,370 North Carolinians died in the war, either from the fighting or from disease.
On April 8, 2017, the North Carolina Museum of History seeks to remember the First World War on the one-hundredth anniversary of the United States’ declaration of war against Germany with the opening of a brand new exhibit that features many artifacts and stories from the war. At the same time, there will be a festival celebrating and memorializing North Carolina’s involvement in the war.
The festivities begin at 10 a.m., with the ceremonial laying of a wreath at the World War One portion of the North Carolina Veterans Memorial, and will continue until 4 p.m. The festival will be centered around the History Museum at 5 East Edenton Street and will also encompass the grounds of the Old State Capitol across the street.
Numerous dignitaries, including Governor Roy Cooper, will be in attendance, along with members of the North Carolina National Guard and several WWI reenactors.