Liberty Memorial in KC

(Frank) And we’re back again. (Deb) So Frank, have you ever been over the Liberty Memorial, the World War I Museum? (Frank) I have. Yes. Well, not since it’s been redone. But it’s been many years ago. And they decided we really need to completely renovate this place. So, they have. (Deb) It’s incredible. It’s incredible. And of course, both of my Grandfathers were World War I veterans. My Grandpa Coalson fought in France. And for again, talking about folks back home, for a boy coming from the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia first time he’s ever been away, first time he’d ever seen the ocean. And then he found himself on a boat headed over to Europe. Or on a ship. And the sea was full of ships. I think he sailed out of New Jersey. And it’s just unimaginable. And my Grandpa Bowman, my Mother’s Daddy was stationed at Gettysburg. He was at Camp Colt and guess who was the commander at Camp Colt in World War I? (Frank) Pershing? (Deb) Dwight David Eisenhower. (Frank) Oh really? (Deb) So, Eisenhower, my Grandpa was a coal miner and he had lung problems and got a medical discharge because of his health. And so Eisenhower signed his discharge papers. So he had to go in and see, and I can’t remember what Ike’s rank was at that time whether it was a Major, I can’t remember. And Grandpa’s discharge is signed by Eisenhower. (Frank) Hmm. Wow. (Deb) Yea, and I got to share that with Ike’s granddaughter Ann at the Eisenhower Center a couple of years ago, which was really wonderful and I know she gets stuff all the time about somebody who served with her Grandpa. But you know it was really wonderful to be able to share that. And I interviewed World War I veterans. I did a story on one in our community who had again, served in France. And he talked about how hard it was, how people buried pots, so they wouldn’t have to melt down their pots for ammunition. I mean it was a really incredible time in world history. And with the popularity of “Downton Abbey” and a lot of the shows, there is a renewed interest in the 100th anniversary of World War I. So, there’s a lot of renewed interest. So, visit with us today the Liberty Memorial and go in person after you see this. It’s phenomenal. A few years ago, my friend Scott Porter, retired colonel and instructor at the Army’s Command and General Staff College, asked me to join him in hosting a unique group of tourists. Scott is also a trustee for the Liberty Memorial and World War I Museum and he had about 200 officers from the United Kingdom coming for a tour. They were expecting Dorothy. Most of those officers were visiting Kansas for the first time, and it was visions of flying monkeys and swirling houses that filled their imaginations. They scoffed that this facility would be worth their time. To their surprise, they found the pre-eminent World War Museum in the world, one offering not only the American experience, but the experience of soldiers throughout the world. That focus made an impression on more than one foreign officer. Majors Alex West and Dick Taylor, as I recall, were struck by the international scope of the displays. It’s not just America in the Great War. Because of the balanced approach in presenting the complex issues and experiences, it’s meaningful for their countrymen as well. The officers were visiting Fort Leavenworth as part of an exchange program with the UK’s equivalent military institution. After weeks of immersion at CGSC–after sharing ideas, doctrine, and tactics–the Brits had the opportunity to explore beyond the walls of the Fort and I had the amazing opportunity to see the Liberty Memorial through their eyes.

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