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WWI Centennial and Veterans Day event to be held in Olympia

Guest speakers and much more to be featured

Photo credit: WDVA

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On Nov. 11, the world and Washington state will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the fighting in World War I at 11 a.m., Nov. 11, 1918 -- the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

The Thurston County Veterans Council (TCVC), Washington State Historical Society, and your Washington Department of Veterans Affairs will host an Armistice (Veterans) Day and World War I Centennial event in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building in Olympia starting at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

The toll of World War I was a heavy one, with more than 110,000 Americans losing their lives to combat and disease and another 200,000 becoming injured during the war.

This World War I Centennial and Veterans Day event in Olympia will pay tribute to all those that served and their family members.

Even the name, Olympia, holds deep roots, tremendous impact, and historical significance among World War I as well.

"WHEREAS; the USS OLYMPIA, named for our State's Capital and commissioned in 1895, participated in World War I by escorting Atlantic convoys and is remembered today as a national treasure at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia; and

WHEREAS; the USS OLYMPIA transported the remains of the unknown soldier from a World War I battlefield in France who is buried at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, and wood from the vessel has been inlaid in pistols carried by guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier;" according the Washington State Governor Inslee Proclamations.

Washington state will also join the world to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice with a tolling of the Bells of Peace at exactly 11 a.m.

The tolling of a bell is a traditional expression of honor and remembrance of those who served in World War I on Armistice Day. A Bells of Peace mobile application is also available via ITunes and the Google Play Store.

The event will feature guest speakers Congressman Denny Heck and Major General Willard Burleson, the Commander of the 7th Infantry Division (ID) on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Along with the tolling of the Bells of Peace and special guest speakers, the event will also feature World War I history tables set up by the Washington State Historical Society, Friends of Kilroy (military history group), the Fort Lewis Museum, the Arsenal Museum on Camp Murray and others.

Various modern and war-era military vehicles will also be on display for the public courtesy of the 7th ID and the Friends of Kilroy.

This World War I Centennial and Veterans Day Celebration will honor the more than 593,000 veterans, 60,000 active-duty military, 19,000 National Guard and Reserves and their families that call Washington state home.

For more information on the World War I Centennial and for a list of monuments across the state, please visit

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