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Posted on Mar 15, 2011 in Stuff We Like

Ceremony Memorializes Passing of WWI Generation

By Ed Kennedy

Joan Barkley-Wells, daughter of WWI Medal of Honor recipient John Lewis Barkley, with LtCol (ret) Ed Kennedy and Rick McClellan.

On February 27, 2011, the last U.S. World War I veteran passed into history. Former World War I “doughboy” Frank Buckles died at age 110, just over three years from what will be the beginning of the First World War centennial (2014–18). Buckles’ passing prompted the Liberty Memorial, America’s National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, to host a ceremony honoring the memory of all World War I U.S. military personnel who served during the Great War. On Saturday, March 12, 2011, “The Passing of a Generation” ceremony was conducted on the east deck of the Memorial with a number of dignitaries and ceremonial units in attendance. The VFW provided a salute firing party and the American Legion band from Kansas City provided musical support. Both the VFW and Legion are outgrowths of World War I.


George York, WWII veteran and son of SGT Alvin York.The Liberty Memorial and National WWI Museum is a National Historic Landmark and one of the sites under consideration for designation as the future site of a “National World War I Memorial.” Therefore, it is highly appropriate for the Liberty Memorial to host this “Passing of a Generation” ceremony. General Richard Myers, U. S. Air Force, ret. a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was the keynote speaker, and addresses were made by other notables, including George York, a World War II veteran and son of World War I Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant Alvin York. Volunteers from nearby Fort Leavenworth, Kansas assisted with the ceremony to include providing an authentically-uniformed “Doughboy” color guard and wreath bearers. Bugler Kurt Kisker ended the ceremony with the traditional playing of Taps.

Click here to read an interview with Frank Buckles on our partner site HistoryNet.

Want to learn more about World War I? Visit The Great War Society, a non-profit organization that publishes a quarterly journal and has an outstanding Website.

All photos were submitted by the author. Click on picture below for larger image.

Lieutenant Colonel (ret) Ed Kennedy, Rick McClellan, Kurt Kisker, LtCol (ret) Shawn Faulkner, Gunnar Naughton, PVT Hunter VanBogart (Army Res).