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Archive for Monday, April 2, 2007

K.C. asked to host ceremony marking last WWI vet’s death

April 2, 2007

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— With only a few known U.S. veterans of World War I still alive, the question has arisen: Where should the ceremony to mark the last veteran's death take place?

As the nation's only World War I monument, Kansas City's Liberty Memorial has moved to the top of the list.

The recent death of Lloyd Brown, a Missouri native who was the last known surviving World War I Navy veteran, left only three known U.S. veterans of the "War to End All Wars." There could be others, however, who never applied for benefits and are not listed with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

All of the three known veterans are over 100 years old, meaning time is running out to plan the ceremony to mark the last veteran's passing.

"Generally, if you're going to honor someone's passing, you do it within 30 days of their interment," Liberty Memorial executive director Steve Berkheiser said.

The VA in Washington has contacted Liberty Memorial officials, asking if the memorial's National World War I Museum could host the commemoration.

Berkheiser said Liberty Memorial officials would start the process by contacting Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., and Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo.

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