Archive for Kansas City Missouri

National World War I Museum observes centennial

Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

The United States is observing its centennial of the country being involved in World War I. And that has boosted attendance at The National Museum and Memorial just south of Union Station in Kansas City, Mo.

That was the message that Jonathan Casey delivered to about 35 persons who attended the quarterly meeting of the Wyandotte County Historical Society Sunday afternoon, Nov. 19, at the George Meyn Community Center in Wyandotte County Park, Bonner Springs. Casey is director of archives and the Edward Jones Research Center at the National Museum.

The museum tells the whole story of the war that covered a period from 1914 until 2019. The United State got involved in 1917. Fighting stopped on Nov. 11, 1918. That date used to be called “Armistice Day.” The holiday is now called “Veterans’ Day.”

The peace treaty was signed in 1919. About 9 million persons died.

Casey said ground was broken for the museum site in 1921; a crowd estimated at 100,000 showed up. Calvin Coolidge, who was vice president, was among the dignitaries who attended. Also present were five Allied military commanders; they were Lieutenant General Baron Jaques of Belgium, General Armando Diaz of Italy, Admiral Earl Beatty of Great Britain, Marshall Ferdinand Foch of France and General John J. Pershing of United States. This was the only time that these five were together.

The museum was dedicated in 1926. Calvin Coolidge, who was president then, attended with another large crowd. Harry Truman, who was an artillery officer during the war, was also there.

Casey said that the archives at the museum has many artifacts and records including letters written to and from soldiers. Among the correspondence is that to and from Warren Shaw of Bonner Springs who was a member of an army band unit. He played the violin and clarinet. He was killed in October of 1918 and was buried in France.

The most visible part of the museum is the 217-foot tower. Visitors are allowed to travel to the top of this structure and enjoy an excellent view of Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan.

The museum has a staff of about 40 fulltime and part-time workers. About 200 volunteers help out.

According to its 2016 tax form filed with the IRS, the museum had total revenue of $9,973,623; its total expenses were $5,596,712. It attendance for 2016 was 309,288.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, telephone 816-888-8100 or see the web site

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte west and The Piper Press.


Veterans Day events planned at Liberty Memorial

Veterans Day events are planned this weekend at the National World War I Museum and Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Mo.

There will be free admission for veterans and active-duty military from Nov. 10-12, and half-price admission for the public Nov. 10-12.

A free public Veterans Day ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, in the museum’s J.C. Nichols Auditorium.

The keynote address at the ceremony will be by Maj. Gen. Maria R. Gervais, deputy commanding general, Combined Arms Center.

Other guests at the ceremony will include U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo.; and Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James.

Other highlights of Veterans Day weekend at the Liberty Memorial, 100 W. 26th St., will include:

• Nearly 100 new “Walk of Honor” bricks will be dedicated during a ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, in the J.C. Nichols Auditorium.

• A Vietnam-era Bell UH-1 Iroquois “Huey” Helicopter display will be on exhibit from Nov. 10 to 12, from the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 243.

• “Hope 22: Dark to Light Photography Exhibit” will be on display from Nov. 11 to Nov. 12. It is raising awareness about veterans’ suicide epidemic. The exhibit features photos of 22 veterans. The name of the project is from a Veterans Affairs report indicating that, on average, 22 veterans are killed by suicide every day.

• “Find Your World War I Connection” – Museum visitors will have access to research stations featuring,, the Museum’s online collections database, records from the American Battlefield Monuments Commission, and the National Archives to help individuals find their World War I connection, from Nov. 10 to Nov. 12.

• The Hands-on History family-friendly program will invite children of all ages to handle Great War artifacts, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11.

• There will be an opportunity to view special exhibits, “Revolutions! 1917,” “Posters as Munitions, 1917,” “The World Remembers” (closes Nov. 11), and the recently opened “Images of the Great War: America Crosses the Atlantic.”

For more information, visit


Sykes to speak tonight about civil rights

“Alvin Sykes Speaks: A Conversation on Racial Justice in America,” will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Kansas City, Mo., Health Department auditorium, 2400 Troost Ave., Kansas City, Mo.

Sykes, who has worked with civil rights issues for years in the Kansas City area, will speak about his life and work, and civil rights.

Sykes was a force in getting the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act and its renewal law passed.

The event is free and open to the public.