I did not have my blog when I visited Kansas City last year. I thought this was the perfect time to post a few photos from my visit to the National World War I Museum, while discussing Veterans Day because of the connections between the end of this war and this holiday. Before my photos, I’ll share a few points about the war and the holiday.
Veteran’s Day or Veterans’ Day?
The correct answer is neither, as there is not an apostrophe in the correctly spelled Veterans Day. The US Department of Veterans Affairs clarifies that the holiday is not a day belonging to, but a day honoring all veterans.
Connection Between World War I and Veterans Day
Just like World War I was not always called World War I, Veterans Day was not officially referred to by this name until 1954, after the end of The Korean War. After “The Great War” ended 100 years ago on November 11, 1918, “Armistice Day” was commemorated annually. After World War II and the Korean War, the name was officially changed to Veterans Day.
For a short time during the late 60s and early 70s, the holiday was on a different date but was changed back to being observed on November 11.
Veterans Day Celebrates All Veterans
Every day is worthy to remember and honor all veterans. At the same time, there is some confusion between Veterans Day and Memorial Day holidays. Memorial Day is dedicated to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice during their service. Veterans Day salutes all veterans.
Other countries involved in World War I hold similar observances to Veterans Day.
In Canada, Remembrance Day is observed on November 11.
Australia also observes this day too, although the day is treated similar to our observation of Memorial Day.
Great Britain observes Remembrance Day on the closest Sunday to November 11.
My National World War I Museum Visit
The main reason I visited to Kansas City last year was because of the museum. I have been reading about World War II since elementary school, but did not know much about World War I.
Because the two are closely linked by more than the “I” and the “II”, I wanted to learn more about the first of the two wars.
The museum admission ticket is a two day pass. I did not have two full days to visit, but it was clear why this is a two day pass because there is a lot to see.
To reach the museum exhibits, there is a clear bridge from the ticket counter into the exhibit hall. Below the bridge are poppy flowers. The flower is key part of the war poem “In Flanders Field”, and became a symbol of remembrance of the war.
Each of the 9000 poppies under this bridge represents approximately 1000 military deaths in World War 1.
The bridge crosses into a theater that is a combination movie and replica battlefield. This is part of a short narration and exciting reenactment.
To experience the rest of museum and exhibits, you can follow a guide or view the exhibits on your own pace. Two things were interesting to me about the guides.
First, the guides did not have a script so you receive a unique perspective based on the guide you have. I see this as a positive because you can get new information with each visit.
Second, I incorrectly assumed that the museum was only about the United States role in World War I. My guide provided perspective from all sides of the war, while leading us through numerous exhibits pertaining to the many countries involved.
The exhibit below is illustrating the scale of the war. This truly was a world conflict, involving more than Europe and the United States.
The museum has many artifacts from the war. There are also recreations of some things.
Below is a recreation of trenches that were used. While the trenches stretches for miles across battlefields, there were plenty of curves to provide cover for troops in case the trench was infiltrated by enemy troops.
Letters and quotes from soldiers were also part of the exhibits.
Many types of poison gas were used during the war.
Below is one example of a gas mask used for protection from gas attacks.
Below are examples of the various types of stick grenades used during the war.
I am glad that I visited the National World War I Museum. I still have plenty to learn, but it was interesting to gain more information on an event that played a part in history that we are still seeing unfold.
Have you visited a museum focused on history or war?