MCPL’s Annual Celebration Honors Veterans, Features Live Music, Displays, and More
Independence, MO – Mid-Continent Public Library is proud to announce the return of its annual Veterans Salute event, which pays tribute to the service and sacrifice of our nation’s service members. This year’s salute will be held on Saturday, September 22, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Library’s Midwest Genealogy Center [3440 S. Lee’s Summit Road, Independence, MO 64055].
The daylong event, which this year will honor the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice of 1918 that ended fighting during World War I, will offer attendees of all ages the chance to demonstrate their gratitude for service members as well as enjoy displays of artifacts, activities, and performances.
“Veterans Salute is one of our longest-running programs at MCPL, and we look forward to it every year,” said Dylan Little, MCPL Community Programming Manager. “Whether you are interested in learning more about World War I, or specifically about the service of KC-area veterans, there’s something for everyone. We love this event for a lot of reasons, but with the addition of the pinning ceremony in the afternoon, we especially love having the chance to extend a thank you to our veterans.”
Attendees will start the day by hearing a performance from the American Legion Band of Greater Kansas City, followed by an opening ceremony, which will include a keynote speech from Dr. Matthew Naylor, PhD, President and CEO of the National World War I Museum and Memorial. Throughout the day, families can view displays from several different wars, including a “Huey” helicopter from the Vietnam War, various military vehicles, assorted uniforms and memorabilia, antique radios—one of which will be used for Morse code demonstrations—and more.
“I was at the very first Veterans Salute 20 years ago,” said John Reichley, a U.S. Army career cavalry officer with service in Korea, Germany, Vietnam, and several U.S. military posts. “The historical displays, which have grown from about 10 tables to last year’s more than 50, add a lot to the day. It gets the vets remembering items they used 75 years ago. It is simply a super time for veterans of all wars and services to gather to be welcomed and recognized by the public who appreciate their service.”
For all attending veterans, there will be representatives on hand from various veterans’ organizations, including the Veterans Community Project, which will be bringing a small house to set up outside. In addition, a Veteran Appreciation Pinning Ceremony will be led by Library leadership with commemorative pins for all attending veterans.
Abbreviated Veterans Salute Schedule:
- 9:00 – 9:30 a.m. American Legion Band
- 9:30 – 10:15 a.m. Opening ceremony and keynote speech by Dr. Matthew Naylor
- 10:30 – 11:00 a.m. The Kansas City Bettys musical group will perform
- 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. KC Wolf will stop by
- 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. “Hands On History” program with the National World War I Museum (all ages)
- 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Oral History Interviews (attendees can sign up to record their military stories)
- 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Free tailgate lunch from Hy-Vee for attendees (while supplies last)
- 1:30 p.m. Veteran Appreciation Pinning Ceremony
- 3:00 p.m. Event concludes
Leading up to Veterans Salute, the Midwest Genealogy Center will host a special exhibit called “Over There: Missouri and The Great War” from September 8 through October 25. Developed by the Springfield-Green County Library and the Missouri Humanities Council, the exhibit tells the story of Missouri’s citizens and their unique contributions to the war effort.
To learn more about Mid-Continent Public Library’s annual Veterans Salute, and to see the full schedule of events, visit mymcpl.org/Veterans-Salute.