My brother was in town for the weekend so we decided to take him to the National WWI Museum in Kansas City. It is amazing how much time and work has been put into the museum and is well worth the visit.
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This has been one of my favorite places to visit this year so I am reposting the story and adding a video.
After visiting the National World War I Museum, I must say that it is an extraordinary monument to the achievements and hardships faced by the Allied soldiers during The Great War. In addition, the museum now shows the “Man and Machine: The German Soldier in World War I” exhibit so we can see the war through the other side. It was truly amazing how the museum was laid out with the central circle being a chronological timeline that takes you from the beginning through all the important events and then to the end. Along the way there are personal writings and the thoughts of people who were actually there and experiencing what we can now only read about, imagining what these soldiers went through trying to survive such a dark and violent war.
The first thing that caught my attention was the glass bridge that extends over a poppy garden. There are 9,000 poppies planted here, each one representing 1,000 combatant deaths in WWI. The greeters are a wealth of help and knowledge about the museum so don’t hesitate to ask them any questions you may have.
Going right takes you to the exhibits that date from 1914 – 1917 and include the first half of the “Chronology of War”, a trench that allows visitors to see the conditions soldiers faced while living and fighting there, the “Interactive Tables” where anyone can learn about the technologies used throughout the war, and the “Air & Sea” galleries. Everything is neatly laid out and displayed, including a section of floor that is constructed of glass, allowing you to look below to see other artifacts. Lining the main walk are the different types of artillery guns that were used. Uniforms, handguns, rifles, heavy machine guns, awards, medical gear, chemical warfare equipment, and ammunition are a small fraction of what you will see here. A Whitehead Mark 1 torpedo and a DeHavilland DH2 demonstrates the air and sea capabilities used.
The holidays always bring a flurry of activity to Kansas City. The colder weather does not seem to slow anyone down as they journey to The Plaza to witness the annual Christmas lights being turned on, or the lighting of the Mayor’s Christmas tree. There are theatrical shows, such as “A Spectacular Christmas Concert” and “The Salvation of Iggy Scrooge.”
On Friday, November 25, The Mayor’s Christmas Tree was lit up by R & B great Janelle Monae and Mayor Sly James. More than 7,200 white lights create a classy representation of the holidays. The tree stands at an immense 100 feet, which makes it taller than the Rockefeller Center tree. Once the holidays are over, the tree is cut into commemorative ornaments that are sold to raise money for Kansas City’s less fortunate.
The Plaza Lights have been a staple of the Christmas holiday for about a century. It started as a single strand of lights of the door of a shop. Now it draws one of the largest crowds of the year as the 80 miles of wires and lights are lit up on the evening of Thanksgiving. It takes approximately 280,000 bulbs that are strung by a 4-man crew starting after Labor Day to produce the breath-taking lighting of The Plaza.
As is tradition in so many place, “The Nutcracker” is another annual staple in Kansas City. Presented by the Kansas City Ballet, it stars two hundred children, students of the Kansas City Ballet, alongside twenty five Kansas City Ballet dancers. This is also the first year for the show to be performed in the Kaufman Center for the Performing Arts. “The Nutcracker” was originally started in Kansas City by Tatiana Dokoudovska in 1972.
The holidays are always a time for people to come out and enjoy what the city has to offer.