Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Category: Committee News (Page 1 of 2)

Construction Begins for the National Memorial

Left to right: National Park Service Director David Vela, Adm. (Ret.) Mike Mullin, Centennial Commission Chairman Terry Hamby, Sen. (Ret.) John Warner and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt

In October the National Capitol Planning Commission gave its approval to the design for the memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC. Subsequently the National Park Service issued a Building Permit and just over a week ago the site work began. You can read more about this in the DC press by clicking here or from The American Legion by clicking here. more

Kansas WWI Centennial Commemoration Comes to an End

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:

  1. Identify, endorse, and promote First World War centennial commemorative activities around the state of Kansas;
  2. 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);
  3. 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, 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
  • more

    WW1 Commemorative Coinage

    Shown above is the artist’s rendering of the obverse side of the proposed Kansas WW1 Centennial Commemorative Coin. When  and if available this coin will be minted in nickel silver alloy with a touch of color, similar to the Australian coin depicted below left.

    Later this year the US Mint will issue a series of silver WW1 commemorative coins. Click here for more information. There has been criticism of the ‘cartoon-like’ art work featured on the proposed designs.

    UK Legal Tender 2£ coin

    For most other countries involved in the First World War, the centennial started nearly three years ago, and they are well into their coin series. Some of the coins issued by the United Kingdom and Canada are legal tender and in general circulation, while others are collectibles or investment-grade, some .9999 fine gold coins, like the  Canadian $1000 dollar coin shown.

    Canada .9999 Fine Gold





    Even Germany has struck a coin, although different because it remembers the losses of both world wars.

    Click on the country listed below to read more about their WW1 centennial coinage:

    United Kingdom,



    New Zealand and


    We’re Looking for Local WWI Stories in Kansas

    Across the 105 counties in Kansas one suspects there are some interesting stories of what took place during the Great War.  We’re always looking for people willing to post those stories here so that we might have a good record of both the war and the centennial.

    We’re prompted to use an example from New Jersey–and at this point, you should be saying “New Jersey” like it was a Pace Picante Sauce commercial.  The Caldwell (NJ) Progress recently printed an article about a Rifle Range the U.S. Navy built there in 1918.  Read all about it here:

    Surely (I know–don’t call you Shirley) there must be some stories in Kansas that some of  you would like to share.  Please contact our able administrator, Adrienne ( for information on how to become a blogger of WWI posts.  We’ll be happy to have you aboard!

    James Whitfield

    James Whitfield was a member of the National World War I Centennial Committee, and as such, was asked to serve on the Kansas Centennial Committee as well.  We regret to note that Jim Whitfield passed away on December 6th at the age of 90.

    We take time to express our sympathies and condolences to his family and friends.  Please note the biography on the National website:[UNIQID]&utm_source=US+World+War+1+Centennial+Commission+Publications&utm_campaign=adadaca30b-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2016_12_12&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c80ebdb67d-adadaca30b-129339101 more

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