National WWI Museum and Memorial honors national heroes Memorial Day weekend

David Everett Strickler 6llns Pb0 O Unsplash

Photo by David Everett

In celebration of Memorial Day weekend, the National WWI Museum and Memorial is hosting a range of events for all ages, including the first-ever hot air balloon glow, to honor veterans and active-duty military members. Events begin Friday and end Monday.

Admission is free for veterans and active-duty personnel and half-priced for the general public.

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND ACTIVITIES

FLAGS OF FORGOTTEN SOLDIERS DISPLAY

When: All Day; Monday, May 24-Monday, May 31
Where: Walkway Terrace near Main Entrance at the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: The Department of Veterans Affairs reports that every 72 minutes, a service member takes his or her own life. This moving display of 140 U.S. flags calls attention to the fact that 140 veterans are lost to suicide every week. FREE to the public.

ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE FLAG DISPLAY

When: All Day; Monday, May 24-Monday, May 31
Where: National WWI Museum and Memorial, South Lawn
What: This Memorial Day the Museum and Memorial will display 46 flags that represent the 43 units of the Allied Expeditionary Force during World War I, along with three flags that represent four boats that were sunk with AEF troops aboard. Under the command of Missouri native General John J. Pershing, the AEF was the formation of the American Army along the Western Front. Free to the public.

WORLD WAR I RESEARCH STATIONS

When: All Day; Friday-Monday, May 28-31
Where: Outside Auditorium Lobby inside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: Find your connection to World War I during Memorial Day weekend through research stations at the Museum. With access to multiple databases including, Fold3.com, Ancestry.com, the Museum and Memorial’s online collections database, the American Battlefield Monuments Commission, and the National Archives, discover how the Great War affected your family through records, photographs, and much more. Free to the public.

VINTAGE MILITARY VEHICLE DISPLAY

When: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, May 29-30
Where: National WWI Museum and Memorial, Southeast Lawn
What: The Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA) will display vintage military vehicles from World War I, World War II, Korean War, and Operation Desert Storm. MVPA members will be available to answer questions about their collection. Availability subject to weather. Free to the public.

VIETNAM ERA BELL UH-1 IROQUOIS “HUEY” HELICOPTER DISPLAY

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday-Monday, May 28-31
Where: Rectangular Drive outside the National WWI Museum and Memorial
What: The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #243 will provide an iconic Bell UH-1 Iroquois “Huey” helicopter for people to climb aboard and inspect. Free to the public.

GREAT BALLOON GLOW

When: 6 p.m.; Sunday, May 30 (Balloon Glow begins at 8:30 p.m.)
Where: National WWI Museum and Memorial, North and Southeast Lawns
What: Kick off your summer with the first-ever Hot Air Balloon Glow on the North and Southeast Lawns. Balloons—also called dirigibles or airships—were primarily used in WWI to collect reconnaissance miles above the front lines. A century later, the Museum and Memorial, in partnership with Cumulus Radio, invites the public to observe the magnificence of hot air balloons during an evening “balloon glow.” Hot air balloons will be grounded, and propane burners will be periodically lit to keep the balloons inflated.

Beginning at 6 p.m. the public is encouraged to gather safely on the 47 acres with friends and family to listen to live music, grab a bite to eat from a local food truck, and picnic. And don’t forget to bring your wallet; the Strawberry Swing will be on-site with inspired handmade and vintage vendors specializing in painting, photography, woodworking, and more.

Free to the public. Support for the Great Balloon Glow is provided by Evergy, JE Dunn, and Missouri Lottery.

MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY

When: 10-11 a.m.; Monday, May 31
Where: National WWI Museum and Memorial, Memorial Courtyard
What: A formal public program to include remarks from dignitaries and a keynote address from Lieutenant Colonel Eric Jacobson. Currently, a command surgeon and asst. chief of staff, Lt. Col. Jacobson was formerly a battalion surgeon with multiple overseas deployments and was former director of medical operations at the Javits New York Medical Station, the temporary response to New York City’s COVID-19 Pandemic. ASL interpretation will be provided for the ceremony. Free to the public.

MEMORIAL DAY BELL TOLLING CEREMONY

When: Noon; Monday, May 31
Where: National WWI Museum and Memorial, Memorial Courtyard
What: We commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice with a bell tolling ceremony featuring a presentation of colors, a wreath-laying, and a moving reading. It was also tolled 11 times at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1926, during the dedication ceremony of the Liberty Memorial and again on Nov. 11, 2018, to commemorate the centennial of the WWI armistice. Free to the public.

OLD GLORY FLAG CEREMONY

When: 12:15 p.m.; Monday, May 31
Where: National WWI Museum and Memorial, North Lawn
What: In 1999, the American flag was raised at the National Memorial Arch at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in honor of General George Washington and his Continental Army. The same flag, now named Old Glory, has participated in ceremonies throughout the United States and American outposts in several countries. Old Glory has also flown at Suresnes American Cemetery in Suresnes, France, the final resting place for 1,941 American soldiers. The flag will be raised at the Museum and Memorial to help honor and remember all those who served and sacrificed in World War I. Free to the public.

WALK OF HONOR DEDICATION CEREMONY

When: 2 p.m.; Monday, May 31
Where: National WWI Museum and Memorial, Memorial Courtyard
What: New Walk of Honor granite bricks will be dedicated during a special ceremony. The Walk of Honor is divided into three sections: bricks dedicated solely to those who served in World War I; bricks dedicated to veterans of any military service; and bricks that honor civilian friends, family, or organizations. Walk of Honor bricks is dedicated twice each year during Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies. Free to the public.

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