World War I Museum to commemorate centennial of armistice, starting this week

“Peace and Remembrance” — a spectacular illumination of America’s official World War I Memorial — will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo from National WWI Museum and Memorial )
Poppies at the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo from National WWI Museum and Memorial)

In only two days, the night sky around the National World War I Museum and Memorial will light up in a brilliant display to commemorate the centennial of the armistice.

The “Peace and Remembrance” display will start at 7 p.m. Nov. 2 and continue through Nov. 11 at the museum.

The 9 million soldiers who died in World War I will be honored by this display and also by other events at the national memorial, which is near 25th and Pershing Road in Kansas City, Missouri.

The lighting display will be created by a nationally known producer who has created Super Bowl halftime shows, according to a spokesman for the museum. Almost 55 million pixels will cover the memorial in the pattern of red poppies. The red poppies evoke a symbol that memorializes those who died for their country, as detailed by the celebrated poem, “In Flanders Field.”

The Great War ended on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, and Nov. 11 was officially designated as Armistice Day by President Woodrow Wilson. The holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Events are scheduled from Nov. 1 through Nov. 11 at the World War I Museum to commemorate the centennial of the armistice.

A special ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, at the museum courtyard, with readings of letters from soldiers, poetry and musical performances. The ceremony is free to the public.

Admission to the World War I Museum will be free to veterans and active duty military personnel from Friday, Nov. 9, through Sunday, Nov. 11. Admission for the public will be half-price Nov. 9 to Nov. 11. There are also other parts of the celebration that are free.

Events during the centennial celebration include:

Reflections of Hope: Armistice 1918
When: All day through Sunday, Nov. 11
Where: Reflection Pool outside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: Artist Ada Koch’s moving installation features 117 intricate metal poppy sculptures in a symbolic arrangement. Each poppy represents 1,000 American soldiers killed during the Great War.

2018 Symposium
When: Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 1-3
Where: J.C. Nichols Auditorium inside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: Explore the irrevocable changes years of cataclysmic conflict wrought on the global stage during 1918: Crucible of War, this year’s Symposium. Discover the complex impact on familiar structures as war was fought on three diverse continents of battlefields and the waters that connected them to the American homefront. As borders were literally and figuratively redrawn, Allies celebrated a victory and the world came to terms with the irreparable devastation and losses of the “war to end all wars.”

Peace and Remembrance
When: Friday-Sunday, Nov. 2-11 (Starting at 7 p.m. on Nov. 2-3; and at 6 p.m. on Nov. 4-11)
Where: North Lawn outside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: The official WWI memorial of the United States will be illuminated with a nearly 55 million pixel, 800,000 lumens display featuring more than 5,000 poppies each evening with a massive and moving light installation. At the top of each hour and at 30 minutes past each hour, special presentations of images, footage and details about World War I will appear. Peace and Remembrance occurs for nine days leading up to Nov. 11 in recognition of the nine million soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during the war. Peace and Remembrance will be viewable from a significant distance. The public is welcome to view the illumination from the grounds of the Museum and Memorial with the North Lawn being the best viewing location. Parking is available in the Museum and Memorial lots as well as along Kessler Road. The United States World War One Centennial Commission is the presenting sponsor of Peace and Remembrance. Free to the public.

WW1USA Amateur Radio Station
When: All day, Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 3-4
Where: West Lobby inside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: The Museum and Memorial is teaming with area amateur radio operators to host special event station WW1USA from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. During this time, station operators will contact hundreds of other amateur radio operators across the world. Individuals are welcome to serve as a guest operator of WW1USA at any time with all guests receiving a special amateur radio operator certificate. Free to the public.

World War I Research Stations
When: All day, Friday-Sunday, Nov. 9-11
Where: Outside J.C. Nichols Auditorium Lobby inside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: Find your connection to World War I during Memorial Day weekend through research stations. With access to multiple databases including, Fold3.com, Ancestry.com, the Museum and Memorial’s online collections database, the American Battlefield Monuments Commission and the National Archives, discover how the Great War affected your family through records, photographs and much more. Free to the public.

Craft Your Own Poppy
When: 10 a.m. – Noon, Saturday, Nov. 10
Where: J.C. Nichols Auditorium Lobby inside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: Commemorate the Armistice by creating your own felt poppy pin or ornament in this family-friendly craft experience. Free to the public.

Hands-on History
When: 11 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 10
Where: Near Paul Sunderland Glass Bridge inside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: History is brought to life during this family-friendly program, where kids of all ages are invited to handle Great War artifacts. Free to the public.

Armistice Ceremony
When: 9:30 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 11
Where: Memorial Courtyard outside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: Join us for a multi-national commemoration of the Armistice of 1918 featuring moving readings of poems and letters from soldiers, musical performances and more. Free to the public.

Bells of Peace
When: 10:55 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 11
Where: Memorial Courtyard outside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: Exactly 100 years after fighting ceased in Europe, organizations across the globe participate in a traditional bell tolling to commemorate this momentous event. Those unable to attend the ceremony are also invited to toll bells at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 to honor those who served. Collectively, the sound of bells represent this incredible moment of peace. The bell used for this ceremony was originally located at one of the federal buildings in downtown Kansas City and was rung daily by the Daughters of the American Revolution during U.S. involvement in WWI (1917-1918). It was also tolled 11 times at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1926 during the dedication ceremony of the Liberty Memorial. Free to the public.

Walk of Honor Dedication Ceremony
When: 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 11
Where: J.C. Nichols Auditorium inside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: More than 100 new Walk of Honor granite bricks will be dedicated during a special ceremony. The Walk of Honor, now more than 11,000 bricks strong, is divided into three sections: bricks dedicated solely to those who served in World War I; bricks dedicated to veterans of any military service; and bricks that honor civilian friends, family or organizations. Walk of Honor bricks are dedicated twice each year during Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies. Free to the public.

Armistice Commemoration Hours and Parking
The National WWI Museum and Memorial will be open on regular days/hours during the Armistice commemoration with the exception of Sunday, Nov. 11 (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.). To accommodate expected high attendance, additional parking will be available on the Southeast lawn of the complex (weather permitting). Visitors seeking to view the Peace and Remembrance illumination are welcome to use available parking on the Museum and Memorial grounds.

For more information, visit https://www.theworldwar.org/.

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