What a better way to honor our veterans, military service persons and fallen heroes than to take a tour of all the great veteran and war memorials in Kansas City, KS and Wyandotte County? Whether or not you have friends or family in the service, have served yourself, are an avid history buff, or just appreciate what it means to be an American, there is always value in taking the time to pay tribute to the sacrifices that were made for our country.
Start at the entrance of Wyandotte County Lake, where the Korean-Vietnam War Memorial can be found. This memorial was the nation’s first dual-war memorial, and is dedicated to veterans of both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. The marble memorial with two life-size bronze statues was formally dedicated on Veterans Day in 1988. Continue your tour with a scenic drive around the lake, and then head southwest to the Wyandotte County Historical Museum.
It is here you will find the World War II B-25 Bomber Builders Monument. It was created to honor the employees that built 6,608 B-25 bombers in the Kansas City, KS Fairfax district during World War II. The plant played a significant role in the history of both the city and the nation, and contributed to the advancement of women and minorities in the workplace. After visiting the monument, explore the rich and fascinating history of Wyandotte County in the museum, which contains an abundance of artifacts, educational exhibits and interactive displays.
The next stop on the tour is Memorial Hall in downtown Kansas City, KS. This gorgeous piece of architecture was built in 1925 as a 3,500-seat auditorium meant to celebrate the soldiers and sailors that fought and gave their live for our country. Throughout the years it has hosted a number of iconic concerts, including The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and most notably, Patsy Cline’s last public performance in 1963 before her plane crashed down in Tennessee two days later. It is still used today for public assemblies, sporting events and special celebrations. The hall also hosts the Kansas City Roller Warriors, a premier all-female flat track roller derby league that provides audiences with unrivaled ”in-your-face” Saturday night entertainment at an exceptionally low price.
The last must-see monument is to the east in the historic Rosedale neighborhood. Modeled after the Arc de Triomphe is Paris, the Rosedale Memorial Arch pays tribute to soldiers who served our country in World War I. It was designed by local resident John LeRoy Marshall and dedicated in 1923. In 1993 a monument was added under the arch to honor the soldiers of World War II, Korea & Vietnam conflicts. Don’t forget to take in the gorgeous view of the Kansas City skyline that can be seen from where the monument stands, and then take a short hike along the Rozarks Nature Trail, which starts right across the parking lot of the arch. A peaceful stroll through the woods is an absolutely perfect way to reflect upon the true meaning of Memorial Day, and to wrap up this relaxing day trip.
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