New York State WWI Centennial Commission

The 27th Division | August 30, 1917, New York City. Library of Congress.

New York State WWI Centennial Commission


Honoring Those Who Served

April 6, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of our country’s entry into World War One, a war that engulfed most of Europe since 1914. United States troops tipped the balance toward Allied victory, forever transforming America’s role in the world - but this victory came at a great cost. WWI claimed over 17 million lives total – more than 116,000 United States troops were killed, 20 million wounded. No state would sacrifice more than New York. Over 500,000 New Yorkers served, and of those, 13,956 lost their lives.

Once called “the War to End All Wars,” World War I was one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history and marked the dawn of devastating modernized weaponry such as poison gas, aerial bombing, machine guns and long-range artillery. Among the New York regiments were the 69th Infantry Regiment, known as the “Fighting 69th,” and the 369th Infantry Regiment, the first African-American regiment to serve in combat in the war. Twenty-five New Yorkers received the nation’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor, for their valor.

About the WWI Commemorative Commission


The history of New York State and our country is a living history. Help commemorate the centennial of the United States’ entry into World War I by sharing your relatives’ stories, sending in photographs of the World War I monuments and plaques in your community, and submitting events happening in your community.

WWI Photographs

Honoring Bravery and Sacrifice

27th Division

The New York National Guard engaged in severe fighting in the Somme offensive, pushing the enemy into retreat.

Units Mobilized During WWI

42nd Division

Called “The Rainbow Division,” the 42nd was composed of troops from 26 states and the District of Columbia.

77th Division

The 77th Division comprised draftees, who were mostly from New York City. The Division trained at Camp Upton in Yaphank, on Long Island.

Commemorating WWI


Former Governor

Andrew Cuomo

On the centennial anniversary of America’s entry into World War I, New York’s commemoration activities will convey the pivotal role New Yorkers played in the War and help us preserve the names and stories of those who served. This war changed us as a nation, and no state dedicated more to the Allied victory than did New York.

Andrew Cuomo

Adjutant General of New York

Major General Anthony German

New York National Guardsmen like Sgt. Henry Johnson, and Lt. Col. William "Wild Bill" Donovan - who won medals for heroism-- set an example of heroism and self-sacrifice during the war, inspiring American Soldiers today. The legacy of World War 1 remains with us today and it's fitting that we mark this centennial for our Soldiers, our Airmen our nation and our state.

Major General Anthony German

Chair, Commissioner, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Rose Harvey

New York and New Yorkers played a critical role in fighting what everyone hoped would be the “War to end all Wars,” from providing soldiers and supplies, to building planes and training pilots, and providing care to the injured. There are no surviving members of the military from WWI, but we can recognize and honor their service on this centennial, and commemorate the tradition of service above self that has been passed down through generations of New Yorkers to the present day.

Rose Harvey

Director of the Division of Veterans’ Affairs

Eric J. Hesse

New York played a pivotal role in America’s defense of the ideals of freedom and democracy. The New Yorkers who served during World War I faced a conflict that the world had never previously seen. They faced this challenge with courage and grace, for their service and actions we are eternally grateful.

Eric J. Hesse