Veteran’s Day and World War I Events with the Office of Historic Alexandria

For a small city in the shadow of the Nation’s capital, Alexandria was fully involved in World War I. Over 4,000 residents participated directly in uniform, while hundreds more worked in war industries including aircraft construction, shipbuilding, and other war-related production. Effects of the war can still be seen in the City today.

In honor of those who served, the Office of Historic Alexandria offers the following events.

Wednesday, November 7-Film Screening: Sergeant York

The Alexandria History Museum at the Lyceum

201 S. Washington St.

7 p.m.

In honor of the Centennial of the World War I, join us at The Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum for a screening of the 1941 film about World War I hero Alvin York starring Best Actor Oscar winner Gary Cooper and directed by the renowned Howard Hawks.

Sergeant York

During a reception before the screening, World War I re-enactors will be on hand with examples of the equipment soldiers carried and they will periodically play music on an original early 20th-century phonograph. The evening will also include brief commentary regarding the life and career of Sergeant York and how it is portrayed in the film. Light refreshments, beer, and wine available for sale.

The reception with the re-enactors starts at 7 p.m. with the film screening to follow. Reservations are recommended. $10 purchase tickets at Alexandriava.gov/Shop or by calling 703.746.4994.

Saturday, November 10-Civil War Tours at Fort Ward

Fort Ward Museum

4301 W. Braddock Rd.

Fort Ward is the best preserved of the system of Union forts and batteries built to protect Washington, DC during the American Civil War (1861-1865). (Courtesy photo)

10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Fort Ward Museum will offer soldier-led tours of historic Fort Ward in honor of Veteran’s Day on Saturday, November 10. Two 90-minute tours will be presented at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.   Tours are free, and will begin in the Museum. The program is weather dependent.

The tours will be conducted by an interpreter who will portray a Union army veteran reminiscing about his military service at Fort Ward during the Civil War.   Participants will learn about Civil War veterans’ organizations, the history of Fort Ward, army life in the Civil War Defenses of Washington, and the design and construction of Civil War forts.   Highlights include the reconstructed Officers’ Hut and ceremonial entrance gate, and the fort’s fully restored Northwest bastion.

Fort Ward was the fifth largest of the extensive system of Union forts known as the Defenses of Washington.   The Museum offers exhibits, special programs and events throughout the year  For more information, please call Fort Ward Museum at 703.746.4848.

 Saturday, November 10The Alexandria Black History Museum

Renowned local author and historian, C.R. Gibbs (Picture by DC Library)

The Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum

201 S. Washington St.

11 a.m.

 Come Out Fighting: How the Original Black Panthers and Other African Americans Helped to Defeat the Axis and Win World War II

This illustrated presentation by author, lecturer, and historian of the African diaspora, C.R. Gibbs, describes the gallant and inspiring story of the nation’s first African American armored unit. Organized during the Second World War, this unit rose above racism at home and skepticism on the battlefield to become one of the most hard-hitting, courageous outfits in the United States Army. They put their lives at risk and did their best fighting for the good they believed would come after the guns had been finally silenced and peace had returned. Mr. Gibbs will also provide a sweeping look at the untold stories of other black men and women who fought in history’s greatest conflict.

C.R. Gibbs is the author/co-author of six books and a respected lecturer on a variety of historical topics. Mr. Gibbs has worked with Smithsonian Institution museums and is a D.C. Humanities Council scholar.

Sunday, November 11-World War One Armistice Centennial Ceremony

Honoring those who served

 American Legion Post #24

400 Cameron St.

November 11, 9:30 a.m.

 The Office of Historic Alexandria and American Legion Post #24 invite you to a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the armistice to end the First World War, signed November 11, 1918. Join fellow Alexandrians on Sunday, November 11 in marking the centennial of Armistice Day, now celebrated as Veteran’s Day, with a ceremony and plaque unveiling.

The door to the ballroom at American Legion Post #24, 400 Cameron Street, opens at 9:30 a.m. with the program beginning at 10 a.m. The ceremony features speakers, T.C. Williams JROTC, and the unveiling of a new plaque remembering all from the City of Alexandria who died during World War One.  A reception in the Post #24 Club Room immediately follows the program.  The event and reception are free, but please RSVP here or call 703.746.4554.

As part of this ceremony, over 8,000 knit and crocheted poppies will be displayed and handed to guests in memory of Alexandria’s veterans.  Local residents and visitors created the poppies over the last 18 months in preparation for this event. Poppies were officially adopted as a symbol of remembrance for those who died in service to their country shortly after World War One.

Sunday, November 11 Free Tours on Veterans Day

Gadsby’s Tavern

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum

11 a.m. –  4 p.m.

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum was saved from destruction thanks to the efforts of American Legion Post #24. To honor this special connection, tours of the Museum on Veteran’s Day will be free for all guests. Stationed tours throughout the day from 11 am – 4 pm.

Tuesday, November 13 Lecture-The Glorious Undying Spirit of Pluck with Author Elizabeth Foxwell

Alexandria Women in World War I France Series

 Alexandria’s History Museum at The Lyceum

201 N. Washington St

November 13, 7-9 p.m.

The Alexandria-Caen Sister Cities Committee invites you to the latest lecture on Alexandria Women in World War I. Alexandria women were among the estimated 100,000 Virginians who served in World War I where the Western Front sliced through important industrial regions in France.

Alexandria resident Elizabeth Foxwell, editor of “In Their Own Words: American Women in World War I”, will discuss some of their roles in the war, coinciding with the centenary of the end of the war.

Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased at alexandriava.gov/shop. Wine and dessert reception to follow.      

The Office of Historic Alexandria

The Office of Historic Alexandria enhances the quality of life for City residents and visitors by preserving and interpreting Alexandria’s historic properties, archaeological sites, cultural resources, artifact collections, objects, archives, records, and personal stories, and by encouraging audiences to appreciate Alexandria’s diverse historic heritage and its place within the broader context of American history. For more information about the Office of Historic Alexandria, its museums, and upcoming events, visit alexandriava.gov/historic.