Join Us at Cantigny
Cantigny Park commemorates this historic anniversary with a a full day of events on Memorial Day, May 28, to commemorate the centennial of America’s first key battle and first offensive of World War I.
The Battle of Cantigny took place May 28-31, 1918, in Cantigny, France. The U.S. Army’s First Division led the charge, successfully liberating the small village from German occupation.
The Battle had a significant impact on the life of Col. Robert R. McCormick. A true citizen-soldier, McCormick joined the Illinois National Guard in 1915 and served on the Mexican border in 1916. At the time, he was editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. He further volunteered for service in World War I with the First Division (now the 1st Infantry Division, the famous “Big Red One”).
The Battle of Cantigny was the only major battle in which McCormick participated, but the experience affected him deeply. Upon returning to the United States, he renamed his family’s Wheaton farm Cantigny. The Park claims a close connection to those events 100 years ago, which took place about 70 miles north of Paris.
Join us at Cantigny Park to learn more about the 1st Infantry Division’s rich history, and how their efforts back then and to this day protect our freedoms.
Centennial Events at Cantigny Park on May 28
10:00 am – Centennial Commemoration of the Battle of Cantigny (First Division Museum)
11:00 am – Living history reenactment of McCormick’s 1937 Cantigny, France speech (McCormick House, performances on the hour until 3:00 pm)
2:00 pm – War Letters: Costumed performers read letters from soliders spanning from WWI to Operation Desert Storm (Visitors Center Theater)
3:00 pm – Illinois Brass Band Outdoor Concert (Bandshell)
Poppy Display – Artistic poppy display incorporated into our World War I galleries.
Family Activities – World War I themed activities fun for the whole family.
Historic Vehicles and World War I Encampment – Get hands-on with some of our favorite vehicles. (Parade Field)
McCormick House Open House (Robert R. McCormick House)
Other WWI Events at Cantigny
June 9 – Beer and Donuts Pairing:Doughboys and Doughnut Lassies
September 28 – Silent Night: A WWI Memorial in Song
November 9 – Doughboys of Cantigny – Oral Histories of the First Division in WWI
November 11 – Armistice Day: Centennial of Remembrance