Missourians take part in planning WWI centennial
By Ken Newton
via theNews-Press Now web site
Nearly 11 months from the centennial of the World War I armistice, Missouri and its federal lawmakers remain in the thick of planning for the celebration.
Not only does Kansas City host the congressionally designated museum concerning the war, and not only did the commander of allied forces, Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing, come from northern Missouri, state members of the House and Senate have worked on behalf of the 100-year anniversary.
Three of them — Rep. Emanuel Cleaver and Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill — had a role Tuesday as the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia held the ceremonial strike of the 2018 World War I Centennial silver dollar.
The lawmakers, along with Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado, sponsored the legislation that authorized the collectible coin. McCaskill could not attend the Philadelphia event.
Cleaver, a Kansas City Democrat, said the coin and the centennial events aim to properly honor the 4.7 million Americans who served in World War I and the 117,000 who died.
“It is critically important for us to understand that without memory, there are no heroes. And if there are no heroes, we forget how we got to where we are now,” he said in Philadelphia.
Blunt, a Republican and a former high school history teacher, told those in attendance at the mint that World War I provides significant lessons about the world situation today.
“The map of Africa, the map of the Middle East, the chaos in both of those regions are largely traced to the end of World War I and the mistakes that were made there,” he said.
“We really come here to the centennial of the war at a time when the war is uniquely important, uniquely instructive. ... Fifty years ago, a study of World War I would not have taught us the lessons, in my view, that it teaches us today.”
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