I have just finished watching and hearing the magnificent “Celebration at the Station,” celebrating Memorial Day. The music of the Kansas City Symphony, our gorgeous Union Station in the background, a flag-waving crowd and one stirring melody after another by the symphony made for a truly memorable evening. But there was more to come: a gala fireworks display, appearing to take place behind the Liberty Memorial. And, to make this evening even more memorable, the Liberty Memorial’s “eternal flame” was lit and glowing.
Unfortunately, this potential nighttime landmark cannot be maintained by the Memorial because of its expense. I am told it would cost some $45,000 a year to keep it lighted on a truly eternal basis.
This may strike some as an almost obscene suggestion but, with “naming rights” all the rage these days, I wonder if naming the flame the "Bank of America,” or the “Sprint” or the “Hallmark” or (fill in your candidate) “Eternal Flame” might be an ideal combination of a local corporation and areawide public pride.
To our city officials, I say thank you for allowing the “eternal flame” to burn atop the stately Liberty Memorial this Memorial Day weekend. Despite this, I am ashamed of the decision to extinguish the flame on other days. Apparently, for those who control the city purse strings, the word “eternal” has lost its meaning.
This magnificent monument and museum is known throughout the world as one of the most beautiful and moving memorials ever built to honor those who fought and died in WWI. Because of the bricks in the Walk of Honor, I will ever honor the unselfish service of my father and those who served in more recent wars, too.
As my 21-year-old nephew now risks his life serving our country in Iraq, my city’s eternal flame of honor has now dimmed while the Sprint Center and Power & Light district illuminate the night. How dishonorable!
Editor’s note: Pioneer Services has donated $5,000 to keep the Liberty Memorial flame burning until July 4. The company challenges businesses, individuals, and groups to donate to the cause by July 4 and will match those contributions up to an additional $17,500. Go to www.SaveTheFlame.org.
As an 84-year-old WWII veteran unable to attend the Memorial Day celebration at Union Station on Sunday night, I was absolutely thrilled with its presentation on PBS.
The Kansas City Symphony orchestra was outstanding. Keith David’s soaring oratory quoting the patriotic words of Lincoln, Kennedy and others was thrilling, and his introduction of WWI veteran Frank Buckles brought tears to my eyes.
The background scenes were searingly appropriate. The playing again of “1812 Overture” with cannon fire by the orchestra was thunderous, as were the fireworks that followed.
Heartfelt thanks to Michael Stern, his orchestra, all the producers and business people that put on the celebration. I am grateful to live near Kansas City, where such a magnificent production could occur.
Leslie Andrew Page
Hooray for Kansas City, the Kansas City Symphony and Michael Stern!
God Bless all soldiers of all wars.
God Bless Bank of America for sponsoring the Celebration at the Station. God bless Kansas City and the U.S.A.
Margaret Auer McCauley