Archive for Opinions

Kansas National Guard has long history in state

Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

The Kansas National Guard can trace its roots back to about 1855 when the militia was representing free state advocates. During the Civil War, which lasted from 1861 until 1865, about 4,000 of these Kansas soldiers served with union forces.

Since then, National Guard personnel, including those from Kansas, have been represented in all of the wars and other military actions that the United States has been involved in.

That was the message that Col. Roger Murdock delivered. He was the featured speaker at the Congressional Forum Friday, Nov. 17, held at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. The Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors the forum.

Col. Murdock, who is chief of the joint staff for the Kansas National Guard, said there are more than 7,200 persons serving in the Army and Air Guard in the state.

The National Guard helps local law enforcement when an area suffers from weather disasters such floods and tornadoes. It also works closely with the Kansas Department of Emergency Management and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Col. Murdock said.

During peacetime, National Guard units report to the governor of any of 50 states and four U.S. territories. Some members of the Kansas Guard have been assigned to temporary duty in Puerto Rico to help restore electric power to the island, Col. Murdock said.

The Trembley White U.S. Army Reserve Center at 1325 N. 78th St., Kansas City, Kansas, will soon become a National Guard building, Col. Murdock said. He said this will relieve overcrowding at other area National Guard buildings including those at 100 S. 20th St. in Kansas City, Kansas, and in Olathe.

Col. Murdock said that the Kansas National Guard is recruiting qualified personnel as it is about 600 persons short. He said the Guard offers competitive pay, retirement benefits and help with college tuition.

Col. Murdock, who works full time for the Guard, joined the Guard in 1985 as an enlisted man. He became an officer through Wichita State University in 1986. He has served in various National Guard positions and also served as an operations officer in Iraq from 2008 until 2009.

Col. Murdock lives in Ozawkie, Kan., with his wife and three sons.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is executive director of Business West.


Column: Thanks to all our volunteers

Window on the West
Opinion column

by Mary Rupert

At this time of the year, thankfulness seems to be the fitting expression.

I would like to say thanks to all the volunteers who have helped this past year at the Wyandotte Daily.

Our volunteer writers, who have journalism degrees, give up their time to help the community become better informed about current events. Our volunteer photographers likewise have spent hours of their own time to bring you a glimpse of what’s happening in the community.

They know that it is important to have an independent presence to detail important events and issues here. Without them, the community would not be as well informed.

Thanks again to our volunteers. We wouldn’t be able to do it without you!

To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email


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.