KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The National VFW Convention is coming to Kansas City this weekend. More than 10,000 Veterans of Foreign War are expected to be in attendance for the event that runs July 21-25.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump will address the convention. It will be his first trip to Kansas City and to a VFW Convention as president.
Crews were already busy Thursday inside the Kansas City Convention Center getting things ready for the 119th annual VFW National Convention. The convention floor was a sea of red, white and blue while lights and speakers were assembled near the stage area.
“This is a beautiful city to have a convention in. It's so clean and everyone is so hospitable. You can’t ask for a better convention city," VFW Commander-in-Chief Keith Harman said.
The Veterans of Foreign War have their national headquarters in Kansas City, but it’s the first time since 2007 that Kansas City has hosted the convention. The last time it was here, presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama addressed the veterans.
On Wednesday the organization announced Trump will take the stage Tuesday. FOX4 was notified late Thursday there is a chance the speech could be moved to a venue near the convention center, but those details are still being discussed.
“We’re not here to be political in any way shape or form. We’ve offered that invitation because he is Commander-in-Chief of today’s military, and we want to see what it is that he can do to improve benefits for veterans yesterday, today and tomorrow, and those serving active-duty military," Harman said.
“He’s promised he’d take care of the veterans. So far he’s kept his promise that I can see," Sheldon Chandler with Platte City's VFW 4055 said.
Sessions including speeches by the president, acting V.A. secretary, joint chiefs of staff and a concert by Trace Adkins are only open to active members. All veterans are welcome on the floor to find out more about benefits.
“They’ll be coming for the camaraderie to renew friendships, but they will also be coming to learn more about the programs that we offer," Harmand said.
While they're in town, they’ll be spending. Visit KC estimates the convention will have a $9.9 million economic impact on the area. The VFW convention is already slated to return to Kansas City in 2022.