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Inaugural flag raising at site of National World War I Memorial

April 16, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm UTC+0

The First Colors broadcast and ceremony will include the official inaugural raising of the flag at the site of the new National World War I Memorial, soon to open in Washington, D.C. The virtual program includes a live military ceremony with historic elements including a unique flyover and musical performance, presented by the World War I Centennial Commission in cooperation with the Doughboy Foundation, the National Park Service, and the American Battle Monuments Commission.  

Hosted by actor Gary Sinise, the 90-minute program will include remarks from present and past military officials and government leaders including Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), as well as entertainment celebrity appearances.  

WHEN:                              April 16, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. EDT/ 7:00 a.m. PDT 


ELEMENTS:                      Program elements include:  

  • Flyover by the 94th Aero Squadron, established during World War I, unit of Medal of Honor recipient flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker. 
  • Raising of the Inaugural flag at the Memorial. The flag has previously flown over U.S. Capitol; nine American cemeteries in France, the United Kingdom and Belgium, honoring America’s World War I heroes; and World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Mo. 
  • United States Army Band Pershing’s Own– including a performance using a bugle originally owned by Gen. John Pershing. 
  • Performance of “God Bless the USA “by Lee Greenwood featuring Home Free and members of the United States Air Force Band. 
  • Performance by the 396th Regiment “Hellfighters Band,” the all-Black band in the segregated Army during World War I that helped bring jazz to Europe. 
  • Highlights from the film “A Soldier’s Journey” which tells the story of the design and importance of the World War I Memorial, featuring Memorial designer Joe Weishaar and sculptor Sabin Howard. 
  • Performance from the musical “Hello Girls” that portrays the first women to actively serve in the Army as heroic World War l telephone operators.  


INSTRUCTIONS:               To register to watch and learn more about the Memorial and the First Colors Ceremony, please visit The live broadcast will be available for public viewing at 


INFORMATION:          Tours of the World War I Memorial site and interviews are available to media. Please contact Abigail Kelly at for more details.  

Learn more about First Colors here.  


April 16, 2021
10:00 am - 12:00 pm UTC+0
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World War I Centennial Commission
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