Did you know that that last living World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, is from Missouri? He lives in West Virginia now, but he grew up in the Ozarks. Frank was in the news this week as he celebrated his 110th birthday.
There’s also a public history aspect to Frank’s story. Kansas City is home to the World War I Museum. The museum began as the Liberty Memorial, one of the many sites commemorating the Great War, as it was then known, in American cities. St. Louis’s Soldier Memorial was dedicated around the same time. But, as we’ve already discussed in class, commemoration can be a tricky business. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill recently posted an announcement on her tumblr site announcing that several senators have reached a compromise that can honor both the Kansas City museum and a Washington DC World War I memorial. Her announcement also notes that the federal government is forming a panel to plan for the centennial of World War I.
How should we resolve these thorny questions of official commemoration sites? And how should the U. S. commemorate the World War I centennial? Use the comments to join our conversation.