Monday, May 28, 2012

Kansas - Day 6

It seems most appropriate to share Day 6 on Memorial Day.  Once again we drove to Kansas City to visit the National World War I Museum which is south of the Kansas City Convention Center. "Officially designated as the America’s World War I Museum by the 108th Congress, the facility is the only museum in our nation solely dedicated to preserving the objects, history and personal experiences of a war whose impact still echoes today."

This is not a Kansas City museum honoring those who fought in WWI.  It is a national (perhaps even international judging by the visitors) museum built to tell the story of ALL who fought in this horrific first world war.

We had the opportunity of climbing the stairs to the top of the 217 foot Liberty Memorial Tower which provided excellent views of downtown Kansas City from its observation deck.

In the background left to right are the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and next to it the Kansas City Convention Center where we had spent the last two days at Spring Quilt Market.

Now turning toward the northeast view.  Kansas City was the birthplace and national headquarters of several well known business including not only Hallmark, but Western Auto, H and R Block, and TWA.

This lovely building directly north of the memorial was finished in 1914 and was the train station called Union Station.  It is now a museum and cultural center.

When it was announced that there would be a memorial built in Kansas City "in honor of those who served in the World War in defense of liberty and our country" which was to be called Liberty Memorial, over $40,000,000 was donated in matter of days.  It was an astounding amount of money for the early 1920's.

There were two Exhibition Halls and two stylized sphinxes one facing east as a symbol of looking back on what has happened and the other facing west toward a better future.  The tower stands between the exhibition halls.

I borrowed this photo from this web site to help with the scale of the memorial.  It is very art deco in appearance and was finished and dedicated in 1926.

I purchased this postcard with a black and white photo of that day.

In 2006 the new National World War I Museum was officially opened.  It is underneath the Liberty Memorial, construction made possible by the discovery of a cave in this spot.  It is divided into two parts, 1914 - 1917 and 1917 - 1919.  The first part includes uniforms, weaponry, and the story of all countries involved from the beginning of the war in Europe.  The second part is the story of the United States entry into the war and of its armed forces.  If you go, don't miss the introductory film.  It provides a concise and well written introduction into the influences and reasons for the war.

Being in this subterranean museum seemed a bit appropriate as this was a war of trenches.  The 1914 - 1917 part included a reconstructed trench winding its way for several feet along the outside wall.  There were peep holes with sound effects along the length which gave one an impression of how it might have been.  It made the story of my grandfather, Andrew Percy Nyborg, all the more real.

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