“In honor of those who served in the world war in defense of liberty and our country.” – inscription, on the Liberty Memorial tower in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri..
Just two weeks after the end of World War I, a meeting of Kansas Citians brought forth the idea and need to create a monument to all men and women in the war and to those who died.
R.A. Long, who founded the Liberty Memorial Association, said: "From its inception it was intended that this Memorial should represent on the part of all people, a living expression for all time of the gratitude of a grateful people to those who offered and who gave their lives in defense of liberty and our country."
In 1919, a community-based fund-raising drive raised over $2,500,000 in less than two weeks through public subscription in Kansas City and nationwide. This amazing accomplishment reflected public opinion about the Great War, which so recently ended. Then a national architectural competition was held for monument designs by the American Institute of Architects. The committee chose the design by architect H. Van Buren Magonigle.
The site for the Liberty Memorial was dedicated on November 1, 1921. The main Allied military leaders spoke to a crowd of close to 200,000 people. It was the only time in history that these leaders were together at one place. In attendance were Lieutenant General Baron Jacques of Belgium; General Armando Diaz of Italy; Marshal Ferdinand Foch of France; General John J. Pershing of the United States; and Admiral Lord Earl Beatty of Great Britain.
The completed Liberty Memorial opened on November 11, 1926 –eight years after the end of the War. President Calvin Coolidge delivered the dedication speech, in which he spoke of how "the magnitude of this memorial, and the broad base of popular support on which it rests, can scarcely fail to excite national wonder and admiration."