The U. S. World War I Centennial Commission was established by the World War One Centennial Commission Act, part of Public Law 112-272 passed by the 112th Congress and signed by President Obama on January 16, 2013, and further refined by Public Law 113-291, Subtitle J, Section 3091. The Commission is responsible for planning, developing, and executing programs, projects, and activities to commemorate the centennial of World War One; encouraging private organizations and State and local governments to organize and participate in activities commemorating the centennial of World War I; facilitating and coordinating activities throughout the United States relating to the centennial of World War One; serving as a clearinghouse for the collection and dissemination of information about events and plans for the centennial of World War One; and developing recommendations for Congress and the President for commemorating the centennial of World War One. The Commission receives no appropriated funds; the Law specifies that “The Centennial Commission shall accept, use, and dispose of gifts, bequests, or devises of services or property, both real and personal, for the purpose of covering the costs incurred by the Centennial Commission to carry out its duties under this Act.” To learn more about the Commission, visit http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php.
A major goal of the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is creation of a national memorial in Washington, D.C., to honor the soldiers who fought in the Great War. After an international competition, a design by Joseph Weishaar, a 25-year-old architect who graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 2013, was selected. Weishaar, who works for Brininstool & Lynch in Chicago, developed the parklike design called “The Weight of Sacrifice” during his free time while he was an intern. Echoing elements of other memorials already on the Mall, Weishaar’s plans call for the creation of a raised central lawn propped up on three sides by walls bearing bas-relief images of American soldiers interspersed with quotations from war leaders, politicians and soldiers.At the center of the lawn, which Weishaar intends to be symbolically held up by the sacrifice illustrated on the walls, a sculpture will be the focal point. Weishaar worked with Sabin Howard, a New York sculptor, to develop the artwork included in his proposal.To learn more about the project, visit http://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/honor/national-wwi-memorial.html.