Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend at the Memorial

It is Monday evening.  We have just returned from a quick trip to Kansas City.  Some may wonder why we would travel to Kansas City (from Toledo) for such a short time...especially when we are leaving for Alaska in three days.  We found out after we had booked our Alaskan Cruise, that Eric, Ray's son, will be deployed to Kuwait in June...probably the beginning...when we are in Alaska.  He will be coming to Toledo...but we would not be here to see him before he left for overseas.  So...that is why we went to Kansas City.  We met Eric and his girlfriend, Alicia, and got to spend Friday evening, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning with them. 

Alicia and Eric at the Dubliner

This was the first time I had stayed in Kansas City, so was glad that Eric suggested we go downtown to the Power and Light District for dinner.  We had a nice dinner at the Dubliner while listening to a great band.  Then we went back to the Drury Inn for a good night's sleep. We planned to visit the National World War I Museum in the morning.

Power and Light District

This museum is divided into four sections:  The Exhibit Hall, The Tower, the Memory Hall and the Main Gallery.  Since it was spitting rain, we decided to go to the Tower first...just in case the weather changed to storms.  The tower is 217 feet high.  It was built in 1921 with an eternal flame at the top.  We took an elevator to the observation deck since the stairs were blocked.  (I have to admit, I found being squeezed in an elevator with room for only eight people was much more inviting than trudging up those steps.)
The Tower
View of Kansas City from the top of the Tower

View of Union Station from the Tower

From the Tower we went to the Exhibit Hall where I was fascinated with a wall mural, the Panthéon de la Guerre. According to the brochure..."The Panthéon was created in France during World War I and was the largest painting in the world, measuring 402-feet long and 45-feet tall. The Panthéon was created as a cyclorama and involved hundreds of artists who collectively painted thousands of military and civilian personages from France and the Allied nations."

This gives an idea of the size of The Pantheon.
France loaned this for the Chicago World's Fair in 1933.  Somehow it got forgotten and was found later, rolled up in a warehouse.  Some of it was damaged, but a lot of it is exhibited in this museum.

Close up of the people painted in The Pantheon.

From the Exhibit Hall we went to Memory Hall where I met Fred.  Fred was a volunteer who showed me how to use this computer type display that would identify each person on the wall murals.  He saw me rolling the track ball but not hovering long enough to see the pictures.  Fred seemed to love his job.  I am not too sure how old he was...maybe a WWII or Korean Veteran.   He kept returning to me to see how I was doing and seemed happy to see that I was taking quite an interest in the pictures.
This is a picture of Fred and me.  Behind us are
paintings of maps from World War I.
Ray found this map that happened to be the place where my father was
wounded in World War II.

The last section of the museum was the main part.  We walked over The Glass Bridge overlooking 9,000 poppies. Each poppy represented 1,000 combatant deaths during WWI.  We saw a short film explaining events leading up to WWI and the European countries involved.  From there we circled through exhibits of artifacts from the beginning of the war.  Halfway through there is another film that explains why the United States entered the war.  The last sections were full of artifacts from the American involvement.
Glass Bridge and the 9,000 Poppies

We really needed to spend another day to explore the museum...there was just so much to see.  But, it was getting late.  They close at 5:00.  Our next stop was Union Station where I thought I might find a big cookie for Valerie, Ray's daughter.  She had gotten two while visiting Eric last year, and really liked the one she was able to eat...but had left the other one in Eric's refrigerator...and of course, he ate it.  So I thought we could get her one...but realized that this was not the same place...so no cookie.  We did see four different wedding parties posing for pictures.

This wedding party was walking to the stairway for pictures when
Eric was walking toward us after getting some coffee.

It had been a long day, so we headed back to The Drury Inn.  They serve an evening meal (salad, chili, hot dogs, baked potatoes, macaroni and cheese, veggies and chips) so we decided to eat there.  Eric suggested we go bowling...but Ray and I decided to call it a night since we had a long drive the next day.

Sunday morning we all met for breakfast and I took a picture of Ray and Eric.  I don't like how it looks.  I was trying to get the Kansas City Stadium in the background and it did not work.  But, this picture will have to do.  What I wish is that I had taken the picture of Ray and Eric hugging....but I was just too touched to realize the camera was in my hand.

First Lieutenant Eric and Ray
 (Note: I did not frame this to include the stadium.)

So, Eric, we might see you for a day before you go on your deployment, but if we don't, know we love you and will think of you every day you are overseas.  We are so proud of you and how fortunate our country is to have you serve and represent us.



  1. We went to see the National WWII museum when we were in New Orleans, and it is there because most of the boats that were used for the landings were made in New Orleans. Do you know why they chose Kansas City for the WWI museum?

  2. Great pictures. I am glad your post worked. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Have an enjoyable Alaskan trip. Looking forward to pictures. What is in the background of Ray and Eric's picture is not as important as the two of them. It is a beautiful picture.

  3. Thanks for sharing your trip . . . more importantly please tell Eric thank you from someone who truly appreciates what he is doing for all of us in this country!

  4. We were in KC earlier this year and visited the same places as you. It's an amazing city and we are ready to go back for a longer stay. Glad that you had a good visit with your son. I pray that his deployment will be smooth and that he will soon be back on American soil. Have a great trip to Alaska - it too is a beautiful place to visit.

  5. You must be so proud of Eric! It appears that you had a wonderful trip and I am sure the pictures do not compare to seeing the real thing. Have a wonderful trip to Alaska!

  6. How proud you must be of Eric! Even though it seems like a long trip, it the scheme of life, it wasn't. The picture of dad and son will be one to treasure until he returns home.

  7. Thanks for sharing this glimpse of your family and Kansas City. There are so many nice memorials AND historical sites if we just "LOOK" for them! How nice that the volunteer was interested in you being a "successful learner" as well! I think the Glass Bridge and the "representation" of the poppies is a new favorite for me!

  8. Thank your for sharing about your trip.
    And how proud you must be!