Firing on the First World War’s Western Front ended on Nov.11, 1918 at “the eleventh hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.” After four years of fighting, an eerie stillness fell across the battlefields of Europe. The next day, Allied commander Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch sent a message to the Allied Armies: “You have won the greatest battle in history and served the most sacred cause - the Liberty of the World.”
Celebrating the end of war soon turned to sober remembrance of all who were lost. Armistice Day, officially recognized by President Wilson in 1919, is still observed throughout the world with many stopping for a moment of silence at the 11th hour of this day to honor those who brought about the end of the “Great War.” Known as Remembrance Day in many countries, the poppy is commonly worn and remains the symbol of commemoration originating from Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields.
In 1954, after the return of veterans from both World War II and the Korean War, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill rededicating Nov. 11 as Veterans Day and encouraged Americans to commit themselves to the cause of peace and to honor America’s veterans for their courage, honor, patriotism and sacrifice.
2014 Veterans Day Events
Tuesday, November 11
Museum Galleries Open 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
All Day: Free admission to the public; free parking available at Union Station (9 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Veterans Day is supported through the generosity of the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund of Kansas City, Missouri. Admission to the Museum and all events are free to the public through the generosity of Jackson County Executive and Jackson County Legislature.
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.: Disabled American Veterans/Red Racks Donation Drive - In honor of Veteran's Day, Red Racks, owned and operated by the Disabled American Veterans, and the National World War I Museum are hosting a donation drive in the U-Shaped Drive near the walkway leading to the Museum entrance. Accepted items include: gently used clothing, shoes, household items/décor and children’s toys. All donations are tax deductible.
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.: Day in the Life - Living history volunteers will be on site to share stories of the Great War era and make history come to life!
10 a.m.: Veterans Day Ceremony - Senator Claire McCaskill, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, Mayor Sly James and Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders are expected for public Veterans Day Ceremony in J.C. Nicholas Auditorium with keynote address from Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer A. Scott Berg. The ceremony will feature performances from the American Legion Band and Lyric Opera Apprentice artists April Martin, Ashley Wheat and Tara Curtis as well as participation from the Native American Color Guard of Missouri.
1 p.m.: Walk of Honor Ceremony - More than 100 New “Walk of Honor” Bricks to be dedicated during the ceremony in J.C. Nichols Auditorium featuring patriotic songs by U.S. Army Chorale member and Iraq veteran Ron Guiterrez, a special presentation of Eagle Scout Bhavish Dinakar’s Guitar for Vets project, an address from Admiral (Ret.) Stanton Thompson, a keynote address from Commander (Ret.) Carlton Philpot and a presentation of all new honorees.
5:30 p.m.: A. Scott Berg Presentation Reception - Cash bar and food available from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the J.C. Nichols Auditorium Lobby.
6 p.m.: Lyric Opera Veterans Chorus - The Lyric Opera Veterans Chorus offers a performance on the Paul Sunderland Bridge inside the Museum conducted by Richard Gibson, a Marine veteran who served in Iraq.
6:30 p.m.: Woodrow Wilson: Fighting for Peace Presentation by A. Scott Berg - Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer A. Scott Berg will discuss how the background of America’s 28th President informed and influenced leading the United States into the greatest war the world had ever seen – all in his idealistic quest for a permanent peace. A book signing follows the presentation.