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World War I Centennial Commission Announces Key Participation in Advance of April 6 Commemoration

Washington DC— The United States World War I Centennial Commission announced the participation of Kevin Costner as well as international, national, and local dignitaries in anticipation of the national ceremony, “In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace: Centennial Commemoration of the U.S. Entry into World War I,” at the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Mo. on April 6.

At a press briefing, WWI Centennial Commissioner and President and CEO of the National WWI Museum and Memorial Dr. Matthew Naylor announced that actor, producer, and director Kevin Costner will narrate part of the ceremony’s text. The actor’s participation comes on the heels of confirmed participation of Gen. Paul J. Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the French delegation headed by  Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the Belgian delegation headed by  Minister of Defense, Steven Vandeput.

Press Conference: “In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace: Centennial Commemoration of the U.S. Entry into World War I” from WW1centennial on Vimeo.

The Commission confirmed the attendance of ambassadors from Belgium, Guatemala, Italy, Latvia, Malawi, Slovenia and the Ukraine and announced the honorary host committee comprised of Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II, and Kansas City Mayor Sylvester “Sly” James. Debra Anderson, quartermaster general of the Veterans of Foreign War and WWI Centennial commissioner, also noted the attendance of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer, and relatives of WWI heroes Gen. George S. Patton and Gen. John J. Pershing, Helen Patton and Sandra Pershing.

French-born, American citizen and WWI Centennial Commissioner Dr. Monique Seefried noted the importance of American involvement in WWI, “My reason for being with you today is to tell you how grateful I am as a French-born woman for what Americans did twice in a century to save France… at the time of WWI the United States entered the war for purely unselfish and idealistic reasons: for peace and democracy.  These were noble reasons, and even if the peace was short, and democracy failed in most of Europe, American soldiers gave their lives fighting for values we highly respect still today.  We should never forget them, nor forget the nearly 20% of foreign-born Americans who served in WWI.”

“In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace: Centennial Commemoration of the U.S. Entry into World War I” will begin at 9 a.m. CDT with a stunning prelude and pre-ceremony multi-media production that illustrates American life in 1917 as the horror of war unfolded on the battlefields of Europe.  It will recall the impassioned arguments from our countrymen and women both for and against involvement in the Great War.

A limited number of ceremony tickets will be available to the general beginning today, Thursday March 23 at www.ww1cc.org/april6. Guests may reserve up to four tickets through an online ticketing system on a first-come, first-serve basis. For schools and group reservations, a limited number of group tickets will also be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.