KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- On a perfect November morning, more than a thousand people gathered and remembered the 117,000 Americans killed and the 130,000,000 across the globe who were killed and wounded in the War To End All Wars.
The National WWI Memorial and Museum is based in Kansas City for several reasons. In part because the citizens raised millions of dollars for the memorial in just days. On November 11, it hosted people from around the globe.
As the 11th hour approached Sunday morning, a crowd silently waited. A bell that tolled during the Great War, and tolled alongside President Calvin Coolidge, tolled again in Kansas City 21 times.
David Coe, dressed in his reenactment clothing, drove up from Texas for the event. As the bells tolled, Coe said, "the first reaction I had was what it must've felt like in 1918." "It was the War to End All Wars, and remembering this, I’m so glad it was remembered."
Throughout the 21 chimes, the only sound that was heard was the bell, the clicking of camera shutters, and the sounds of other bells in Kansas City also joining the one at Liberty Memorial.
"When they started having the bells across town," Coe said. "It changed. I held it together for an hour and I was very proud of myself and then when the bells started, my eyes - my tears started to come."
Some came to honor the legacy in their families.
John Trull drove from Colorado for the Centennial event. His grandfather served on the Western Front in World War I.
"They would've been on the Western Front from about September 26th until the Armistice. A 100 years ago," Trull said. "It was just an inspiration for where we are as a country right now, to remember sort of the roots and important things in our lives that supersede all the other stuff."
Others brought their families to honor the legacy of the Great War. Chelsea Medlock brought her husband and twin 4-year-old daughters.
"I wanted them to know," she said, "just how important this war was in changing U.S. history, but also the world in general. "I mean, everything that happened in the 20th and even 21st centuries, we can trace back to this war."
"If you would’ve seen me over on the other side," she said with a smile, "I was crying. It was very emotional for me."
Medlock was in London for the commemoration of the beginning of the War in 1914. As a historian intern, she was able to participate in Sunday's event.
"I’m so grateful that I was here, to be here for the 100th anniversary of the close of the War," she added.
As she looked around at the dispersing crowd, she marveled, "I’m absolutely amazed that so many people are out, and I’m just so happy that people are here to celebrate."