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National WWI Museum and Memorial celebrates Veterans Day

National WWI Museum & Memorial
WWI Monument
Posted at 11:17 AM, Nov 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-11 12:17:39-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Every day is a day to celebrate veterans at the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

The fire atop the memorial symbolizes those who gave the ultimate sacrifice — that message ringing even stronger on Veterans Day.

"On Veterans Day, we’re sort of connected to our past," said Dr. Matthew Nayler, president and CEO of the museum.

Celebrations kick off at 10 a.m. Friday inside the museum, where all veterans will be commemorated. All weekend long, veterans and active duty personnel can visit the museum free of charge.

On top of seeing exhibits, the newest named "Captured" on display, people can make poppy pins and write postcards for service members.

"Many of us feel like the ground under our feet is sort of shifting, that we’re in a moment of history where we’re not quite sure what the future’s holding," Nayler said. "In a way, listening to what their experiences were in order to try to get a better sense of how to make sense in the world today."

Nayler says it's perfect timing between Election Day and Veterans Day.

"A key pillar of our democratic process and those who serve are also a key part of keeping democracy safe," he said.

Volunteers at the museum have a hand in the history. Some are veterans themselves like George Norton, a retired U.S. Army member who served for over 22 years.

"It was during the Vietnam War, so I felt that sense of requirement as a citizen, my responsibility to give back to the country," Norton said.

He served overseas for six years and was in Berlin when the wall fell. His father was also a service member, which he says instilled his dedication to serving his country at an early age.

"To serve something larger than myself," Norton said.

He wasn't supposed to serve for long, but the relationships were what led him to come back.

"One tour led to another because I liked what I was doing," Norton said. "I liked the people that I was working with ... Some of those people I still am in contact with today, and when I see them, it’s like we just pick it up from where we left it off."