Sense of American pride during recent vacation

I felt a great sense of American pride and patriotism during a visit to Kansas City, Mo. late last week.

When we arrived in Kansas City last Thursday, the first thing we did was a tour of Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs. We learned a lot about the founder of the Chiefs, as well as interesting tidbits about the stadium.

This brought me back to my college days at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls from September 1997 through May 2001. During this time, the Kansas City Chiefs held their training camps at UW-RF and during one summer I got to cover the camp while an intern in the UW-RF Public Affairs Office. On our way out of Kansas City on Sunday, we decided at the last minute to stop in St. Joseph, Mo. to watch a training camp practice at Missouri Western State University, as they stopped holding training camp in River Falls in 2009.

On Friday afternoon, we toured Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals. What was real interesting about this visit was learning the same architect who did the Kauffman renovations that began in late 2007 and were completed by the 2009 season, also designed Target Field. At the end of this tour, we watched a short video on the history of the Royals, and even though it was a Royals’ video, you couldn’t help feel a sense of appreciation watching history of our national pastime.

Another highlight of our vacation was a visit to the Money Museum located inside the Federal Reserve Bank. After you have your driver’s license scanned and go through airport-type security, you are allowed in.

The Harry S. Truman Library of Independence, Mo., loaned a large number of coins from its 463-piece coin collection for display at the Money Museum. The collection of American coinage consists of examples of coins produced by the U.S. Mint during every presidential administration. This was pretty fascinating and educational.

Also inside the Money Museum is home to one of the region’s largest automated cash vaults. From a viewing area in the Money Museum, we got a close-up look of how bank employees and the vault’s robots work together to move large containers of cash within a secure area. If only one of the robots would have accidentally misplaced some of that money ….

The most emotional part of our vacation was a visit to the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial. The Museum collections and exhibitions cover the entire war from the first shots in 1914 to the last attempts at peace in 1919. All the belligerent nations involved, reflecting both the battlefield and the home front, are represented.

The museum collects the common item carried by the soldier in the field, as well as the rare treasure of national significance. It holds over 75,000 items in its museum, library and archival collections.

We entered the museum by crossing over a glass bridge and a field of 9,000 red poppies, with each poppy representing a thousand combatant fatalities from World War I.

And being the sports-junkie I am, we also spent a considerable amount of time in Exhibit Hall, which featured, “World War I All-Stars: Sports & the Inter-Allied Games.”

We got the best view of Kansas City when visiting The Liberty Memorial Tower, also located at the World War 1 Museum, which has a 217-foot-high, open air observation deck.

Even though I wouldn’t describe myself a history-buff by any means, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride and appreciation for our country.

From the history associated with the sports stadiums to learning more about the sacrifice involved in World War I, it all played a part in our American history and the freedoms we enjoy today. I’m glad I was able to learn more about them.