Liberty Memorial and World War I Museum Salute Memorial Day

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The World War I Museum and Memorial will host activities throughout Memorial Day Weekend. (Photo courtesy National WWI Museum and Memorial)

Downtown Kansas City is the place to commemorate Memorial Day activities this weekend with the World War I Museum offering half price admission and the KC Symphony performing its annual outdoor concert at Union Station Sunday.

“During Memorial Day weekend, it’s important for people to spend time recognizing and honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country,” said Dr. Matthew Naylor, president and CEO of the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

“We have a variety of activities for people of all ages and interests and we’d welcome the public to take the opportunity to spend a portion of their weekend at America’s official World War I museum and memorial.”

Admission to the Museum and Memorial is free for veterans and active duty military personnel, while general admission for the public is half-price all weekend, today through Monday.

It will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Sunday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday. To accommodate expected high Memorial Day weekend attendance, additional parking will be available on the southeast lawn of the complex (weather permitting).

Here’s a schedule of Memorial Day weekend activities, according to a press release from the WWI Museum and Memorial:

FLAGS OF FORGOTTEN SOLDIERS DISPLAY

When: All Day; today through Monday.
Where: Walkway Terrace near Main Entrance at the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: The Department of Veterans Affairs reports that every 72 minutes, a service member takes his or her own life. This moving display of 140 U.S. flags calls attention to the fact that 140 veterans are lost to suicide every week. FREE to the public.

WORLD WAR I RESEARCH STATIONS

When: All Day; today through Monday.
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 at the Museum. 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.

LETTER WRITING

When: All Day; today through Monday.
Where: Outside Wylie Gallery inside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: Just as in World War I, letters help remind those who serve of home. In support of Operation Gratitude, write a letter to our veterans, deployed troops, new recruits and first responders. FREE to the public.

FOOD TRUCKS

When: Times vary; Saturday through Monday.
Where: Southeast Lawn outside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: Fantastic Kansas City food trucks CoffeeCakeKC (Saturday & Monday, 9-11:30 a.m.) and Detroit Coney (Saturday-Monday, Noon – 3 p.m.) will offer delicious food during Memorial Day Weekend. Availability subject to weather.

Liberty Memorial has been the national focal point of events commemorating the centennial of America’s participation in World War I.

VIETNAM ERA BELL UH-1 IROQUOIS “HUEY” HELICOPTER DISPLAY

When: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday through Monday.
Where: Rectangular Drive outside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #243 will provide an iconic Bell UH-1 Iroquois “Huey” helicopter for display. FREE to the public.

VINTAGE MILITARY VEHICLE DISPLAY
When: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday.
Where: Southeast Lawn outside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: The Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA) will display more than 20 vintage military vehicles from World War I, World War II, Korean War and Operation Desert Storm. MVPA members will be available to answer questions about their collection. Availability subject to weather. FREE to the public.

HANDS-ON HISTORY

When: 11 a.m., Saturday
Where: Near Paul Sunderland 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.

WOUNDED WARRIORS FAMILY SUPPORT HIGH FIVE TOUR VEHICLE DISPLAY

When: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday and Monday.
Where: South Walkway Entrance, Walk of Honor Section at the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: During an eight-month tour, a mobility-equipped 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor truck adorned with a patriotic theme and a Purple Heart on its hood will travel thousands of miles across the United States before being donated to a combat wounded veteran. People of all walks of life are invited and encouraged to show their support for our combat wounded veterans and their families by making a donation and signing the tour vehicle with a message of support. FREE to the public.

Last year, Kansas City artist Ada Koch created 117 poppy sculptures to honor American soldiers killed during World War I.

CRAFT YOUR OWN POPPY

When: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Sunday.
Where: J.C. Nichols Auditorium Lobby inside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: Commemorate Memorial Day by creating your own felt poppy pin or ornament in this family-friendly craft experience. FREE to the Public.

BANK OF AMERICA CELEBRATION AT THE STATION

When: 3 p.m.; Sunday (concert begins at 8 p.m.)
Where: North Lawn outside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: Kick off your summer with the largest free Memorial Day weekend event in the Midwest. The Kansas City Symphony, led by Music Director Michael Stern, performs patriotic favorites against the backdrop of Kansas City’s historic Union Station. Celebration at the Station concludes with a fireworks display over the Liberty Memorial at the National WWI Museum and Memorial. FREE to the public.

NATIONAL WWI MUSEUM AND MEMORIAL BENEFIT PANCAKE BREAKFAST

When: 9-11 a.m.; Monday.
Where: Over There Café inside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: Enjoy some flapjacks (with hashbrowns and sausage/bacon) in a unique setting during a pancake feed with proceeds benefiting the National WWI Museum and Memorial. The meals are $11 for adults and $6 for children (12 and under) and include a beverage.

MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY
When: 10-11 a.m., Monday.
Where: Memorial Courtyard outside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: A formal public program to include remarks from dignitaries, including U.S. Missouri Fifth District Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II, Kansas City and Missouri Mayor Sly James (a former U.S. Marine), a keynote address from U.S. World War I Centennial Commissioner Dr. Monique Seefried, musical performances from Casi Joy (recording artist from NBC’s “The Voice”), USAF Staff Sgt. Paula Hunt and the USAF of Mid-America Hot Brass Band and much more. ASL interpretation will be provided for the ceremony. FREE to the public.

MEMORIAL DAY BELL TOLLING CEREMONY

When: Noon, Monday.
Where: Memorial Courtyard outside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: We commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice with a bell tolling ceremony featuring a presentation of colors, a wreath laying and a moving reading. The bell used for this ceremony was originally located at a federal building 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 and again on Nov. 11, 2018 to commemorate the centennial of the WWI armistice. FREE to the public.

CASI JOY MEET & GREET

When: 12:30-1 p.m., Monday.
Where: Memorial Courtyard outside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: Renowned entertainer and Kansas City native Casi Joy (from NBC’s “The Voice”) returns to her hometown for a meet and greet/fan signing event between moving performances at the Memorial Day Ceremony (10 a.m.) and the Walk of Honor Ceremony (2 p.m.). Items will be available for purchase or fans are welcome to bring their own items. FREE to the public.

WALK OF HONOR DEDICATION CEREMONY

When: 2 p.m., Monday.
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 featuring musical performances from Kansas City native Casi Joy. The Walk of Honor 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.

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