One hundred years ago today, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the world took a big sigh of relief as the First World War ended with an armistice between the Allies and Germany. After four world-changing years, what had become known as the “Great War” the “war to end all wars” was finally over. And so with some sadness but also a little relief, the Kansas WW1 Centennial Committee has chosen this centennial Armistice Day to officially bring its commemoration to a close with the Tolling of the Bells (event details) at the Kansas Museum of History.
The Kansas WWI Centennial Commemoration Committee was formed in 2015 by proclamation of the Governor. The Director of the Kansas Museum of History, Mary Madden, was asked to chair the committee that included volunteers representing the the Kansas State Historical Society, Kansas Commission on Veteran’s Affairs Office, Kansas Humanities Council, Kansas State Department of Education, Kansas State University, Kansas University, KU Med Center, Kansas Wesleyan University, The Adjutant General’s Department, Bethany College, Brown v. Board of Education, National World War I Museum & Memorial, Pittsburg State University, US WWI Centennial Commission (WWICC), and the US Cavalry Museum.
The committee identified the following three goals to pursue throughout the commemoration period:
- Identify, endorse, and promote First World War centennial commemorative activities around the state of Kansas;
- Identify, collect, and share information about First World War monuments and memorials in the state of Kansas using the KSHS-operated Kansas Historical Resources Inventory (KHRI);
- Identify, collect, and share information about Kansas citizens who lived during the First World War.
With a budget of exactly $0 dollars and just the elbow grease of a few good history enthusiasts, the committee chose to pursue these goals through the creation of KansasWW1.org, a website to post content about commemorative activities, explore monuments and memorials, and share resources and research about Kansans who lived during the First World War.
On this blog, 21 authors wrote 782 articles about Kansas and the Great War. They developed the following special projects:
Bethany College Digital Humanities Project which featured students from Bethany College as they researched and digitized artifacts relating to Bethany, KS
Kansans of the Great War Era which is a collection of articles on sons and daughters of Kansas who lived during the First World War
African American Soldiers, a special page dedicated to African Americans from the state of Kansas who served in the armed forces during the First World War
Dissidents in Kansas, articles about the Kansans who bravely fought their own battles to end the war
100 Years Ago in Kansas, a collection a events that occured in the daily life of Kansans throughout the war