For the Fallen
(Stanzas 3 & 4)
They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
COMMEMORATING THE 100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE END OF WORLD WAR I
TELLING THE STORIES BEHIND KANSAS CITY’S WWI MONUMENTS
Over 20 million people were killed in, or because of, World War I. Over 116,000 were Americans, and at least 436 of those were from the Kansas City area.
The war raged for almost three years before the United States officially became involved, declaring war on Germany, April 6, 1917 after a series of provocations made it impossible for the U.S. to remain neutral any longer. The first U.S. troops deployed to overseas training camps in June 1917. Lt. William Fitzsimons, a 28-year-old doctor who died Sept. 7, 1917, while serving in an American Army hospital with the British Expeditionary Forces in France, was the first United States Army officer to die in action. The remaining US military wartime deaths occurred between October 1917 and November 11, 1918, Armistice Day. Though technically the war did not end until various treaties were signed or resolutions were passed by each of the governments involved over the next several years, Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918 is generally considered the ‘end’ of the war. Many others died in the months and years after that date, due to injuries sustained during the war.
For many years after the war ended, monuments were erected around the world, including the Kansas City metropolitan area, honoring and recognizing those who served and those who were lost.
The Kansas City metropolitan area includes several memorials related to WWI. Some are dedicated to specific individuals, some to all those who served. Others specify certain groups, such as the American War Mothers, and a few honor military personnel from multiple U.S. wars.
The Kansas City Missouri Parks and Recreation Department properties include 13 memorials related to WWI, in addition to the Liberty Memorial / National WWI Museum in Penn Valley Park. There are also three KCMO parks named for WWI soldiers. Some monuments that once were dedicated to individuals have been removed for various reasons over time.
Other communities around the metro area also created memorials after the war. There are WWI-specific monuments in Kansas City, Kansas, and in Blue Springs and Liberty, Missouri.
Temporary markers will be placed at most of these locations from Sept. through Nov. 11th, 2018 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.
Many monuments are simple, small plaques mounted on a single stone plinth. Others are grand arches, fountains or buildings. Some include eloquent quotes etched in stone or cast in bronze, and some express their sentiments in sculpture. But no matter how beautiful a monument may be, it surely cannot tell the whole story of the person or people it represents, nor those they affected and left behind. There are also stories to be told about who created the monuments, and how. Here are some of those stories. There are, undoubtedly, many more. We will continue to add them, as we get more information.
The Liberty Memorial and National World War I Museum (under construction)