A Student of History

March 7, 2012

Where should America’s WWI Memorial Be?

Filed under: Wars — John Maass @ 7:35 am

From Yahoo News:

As the 100th anniversary of the beginning of “the Great War” approaches in 2014, a tussle has broken out between Kansas City and Washington, D.C. over which city should be the site of the nation’s “official” World War One memorial. In 2004, Congress voted to designate the Kansas City memorial [photo below] as the official museum, but late last year support emerged for having the memorial on the National Mall in the nation’s capital.

Do we need more stuff on the Mall? Yet it is hard to make the argument that the museum will get more visitors in KC than in DC. But, an argument favoring Kansas City as the site for the national memorial is the museum there, which houses the largest American collection of artifacts from the war. 

By the way, it is a damned ugly memorial in my opinion.



  1. The actual request for a couple of memorial sculptures on the national mall (in the abandoned woods next to the dc memorial) began in 2008. A meeting was held with KC in 2007 to discuss this with them prior to our efforts and the request of Frank Buckles to honor all Americans in our nations capitol. KC is a great museum and the staff work hard everyday to honor the veterans of WWI. However the mall is the mall and that is where 25 million people a year go to learn about Americas history. BTW there is no battle with KC as the bill would declare both sites as National memorials.

    David DeJonge
    President WWI Memorial Foundation- DC

    Comment by david dejonge — March 8, 2012 @ 6:33 am | Reply

  2. Thanks for your comments Mr. DeJonge, much appreciated. One thing that does not seem to come out in these articles is that the KC site has an extensive museum, whereas the DC location is a memorial. Are folks talking about putting a WW2 museum on the mall?

    Comment by John Maass — March 8, 2012 @ 7:25 am | Reply

  3. As someone from “fly-over country,” I actually like that the official museum is in KC. Many people cannot afford to travel all the way to D.C., and this allows them easier access. Don’t forget that many Americans are not living on the East Coast!

    Also, since the memorial was already there, it made perfect sense to build the museum underneath. Plus, it is probably the best museum I have visited in the United States, rivaling even the Smithsonian (!!!). You may feel like the memorial is “damned ugly,” but it is a perfect example of the architectural styles of the 1920s, when it was built. It also has an absolutely amazing view of downtown Kansas City, which is not visible from this picture. Kansas Citians are thrilled that this memorial and museum exist in the “City of Fountains,” and we wouldn’t want to lose our standing. If D.C. wants a memorial that is fine, but I would hate for that to eclipse the wonderfulness that is the Liberty Memorial.

    Comment by Kristen — March 11, 2012 @ 7:20 pm | Reply

  4. Here’s an example of the great view from the Liberty Memorial, although this picture doesn’t represent the new Kauffman Center. The memorial stands on a slight hill, and the top lights up at night (like a torch).

    Comment by Kristen — March 11, 2012 @ 7:24 pm | Reply

  5. Thanks Kristen!

    Comment by John Maass — March 13, 2012 @ 7:05 am | Reply

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