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Travel: Kansas City’s National WWI Museum and Memorial

    The young woman, probably in her late teens or early 20s, stepped up to the small window cut into the wall of the exhibit and peered in. The scene—showing the rough interior of a WWI British trench—was bathed in eerie blue light. Inside, two soldiers—Tommies—sheltered by row upon row of stacked sandbags, faced the forest beyond, a world only barely visible though a wall of twisted barbed wire.

    She turned to the young man standing beside her. “Did we study this?” she asked, a puzzled look on her face.
    “I think so,” he replied. “I’m pretty sure we did.”
    The pair put their faces back to the opening in the wall and studied the scene for a few minutes before walking on.

    Welcome to the the other world war. The first one. The war that was to have ended all wars and did not. The war we haven’t studied enough.

    This is what brought me to Kansas City, Missouri. The National WWI Museum and Memorial is the only one of its kind in the nation. It is the repository of stories, photos, artifacts and ephemera of the era and I have been researching the stories of the men and women who served in the Great War, some involved for years before the United States officially entered.    

        The story of the memorial and museum that followed is almost as epic as the war it commemorates. Just two weeks after the Armistice that ended hostilities on November 11, 1918, after the loss of 17 million lives and the destruction of an entire generation in Europe, Kansas City decided to build a monument to commemorate those who served and those who died in the war. Less than two weeks later city leaders and residents had raised  more than $2,5 million to build what would be known as the Liberty Memorial and it was dedicated on November 11, 1926,
    You enter the National World War I Museum, constructed beneath the memorial in 2006, by descending a set of stone steps. Once inside, you must cross a glass bridge over a field of poppies to enter the main galleries. Each of the 9,000 flowers represents 1,000 combatant deaths.
       The Museum’s exhibits are comprehensive and bring to life both the monumental and cruel aspects of the war. Interactive media displays include music of the period and powerful war poetry. Larger pieces include a restored ambulance, once manned by American volunteers working with the French army, a 1917 Harley Davidson army motorcycle and a French tank.
       History, the most powerful educator, can’t teach us if we don’t study it. The United States came late to the effort, and our losses were small when compared to those of the other allies, but the chain of events triggered by the First World War still touch our lives today.
       In 2017 the country will mark the centennial of America’s entry into the war. Most of us, if we look, can find at least one ancestor who served.
    As I gathered my things to leave, I passed a family with three young children. Their father was reading from a poster asking Americans to eat less so that soldiers “over there” would have enough. He had the children’s attention. In their short lives no one had ever asked them to do without food. He led them on to the display on the African American soldiers who fought abroad for a democracy that gave them short shrift at home.
        The oldest child, a boy, stepped close to the glass. I watched him study the words and the photos and it occurred to me that in a few years he will be old enough to go to war, if another war should come. If past mistakes should be made again.

    Shaking the thought from my mind, I picked up my bag and walked out into the soft Missouri rain with a quote from Harry Truman, the man who made the decision that ushered in the nuclear age when he ended the Second World War, running through my head:
        “There is nothing new in this world except the history we don't know.”


Shock take Command

I've been busy with graduation parties and relatives in town, but I knew when I woke up this morning I'd forgotten something. I hadn't posted Jessica Brown's game story from the Shock's easy win over Kansas City on Saturday night. So here's Jessica's report and S-R photos.

Just another strange AFL day

Friday was another bizarre day in the Arena Football League with labor unrest resurfacing but much like the first flare-up in March, it impacted just one game. (And 'impact' might be too strong of a word to describe what the latest work stoppage accomplished.)

Here's the recap. Cleveland players chose to strike and forfeited their game to Pittsburgh, which was ready to play. It was the Power that was caught up in the March strike, with the team owner firing his players during the pre-game meal. A few hours later, Orlando defeated a mix of Power players who decided to play and some replacement players.

Cleveland apparently was the lone team to strike. Recaps of the other two games didn't even mention a work stoppage.

So, here's my game preview and more on the labor unrest here, here and here.

Spokane rolls past Kansas City

Back with my game story from Spokane's 61-34 win over Kansas City on Friday. The Shock (1-3) have a bye week before visiting Utah on April 15th.

More below.

Shock crush Command for first win

Kyle Rowley had seven touchdown passes as Spokane rolled to a 61-34 win over Kansas City on Friday.

Short recap below. Complete game story in about 75 minutes.

Shock-Command ready for kickoff

Spokane and Kansas City are about 20 minutes from kickoff at the Arena. Just a reminder: In-game updates at Twitter.com/SRjimm.

I'll post a short game story here just after the final horn. I'll also post a final game story at about 12:15.

Shock trying to reduce mistakes

Spokane (0-3) tries to get back in the winner's circle when winless Kansas City (0-2) visits the Arena on Friday. My game preview here. (Correction: Shock P.R.'s Kevin Maloney points out that Spokane does have an interception, by Terrance Taylor last week before he was injured. I had used the AFL's official stat pack, which listed Spokane with zero interceptions.)

Kansas City the first city to earn Google’s high-speed Internet network

A whole bunch of cities including Spokane applied to be selected for Google's much-anticipated rollout of fiber (high-speed Internet) service.

The winning city is Kansas City, Kansas.  

A story on Mashable notes that depending on how that first city rollout proceeds, other cities may also be selected.

The stakes are fairly high for the metros blessed by the search company. Google will install a fiber network that provides 100 times faster data speeds than the typical U.S. Internet connection.

Escaped ape attacks Kansas police car

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 300-pound chimpanzee that broke free from its chains has been captured after briefly wandering around a Kansas City neighborhood and smashing out the window of a police car.

Police Capt. Rich Lockhart tells The Kansas City Star the department got a call about noon Tuesday that a primate was on the loose a few miles from the Kansas City Zoo.

Lockhart says the ape was actually a pet that escaped from its chains. Lockhart says efforts to shoot the animal, named Sueko, with a tranquilizer dart failed. The chimp climbed on a patrol car and struck the passenger-side window with its fist before running off.

It’s owner was eventually able to coax it into a cage. Lockhart says the owner has been cited for having a dangerous animal within city limits.