Editor's Note: A version of this article was first published in 2016.

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Photo via Wikimedia Commons

April 6, 2017, marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S. declaration of war on Germany during World War I, officially ending American neutrality in a conflict that had been raging for three years. World War I doesn’t always get the kind of adoration, interest, or Hollywood attention that World War II or the Vietnam War does, but for those of us who are serving today, there are some big reasons to take notice. Here are six reasons that World War I matters in your daily life if you’re in uniform.

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Thanksgiving morning in 2014 found me on a small Kenyan army training base outside of Nairobi. I was serving as a public affairs mentor for an African Union staff officer training course. It was hardly a foxhole Christmas, nor even my first holiday on active duty, but there was something about spending most of the day away from other Americans that was bringing me down.

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Contemporary lithograph. Public Domain.

Hundreds of Washington’s most famous citizens began the morning of Feb. 28, 1844, with a lavish pleasure cruise that ended gruesomely, in a horrific tableau of blood-splattered gowns, severed heads, limbs and molten metal. The disaster that was the USS Princeton’s debut came about as ambition and fame converged to kill Secretary of State Abel Upshur and decapitate Secretary of the Navy Thomas Gilmer — and somehow won the president a new bride.

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