Branson, Missouri

We’ve enjoyed our stay at Musicland Kampground in the heart of Branson. The park has over 100 sites and although it’s densely packed, the elevation changes really hide most of the rigs from your view.

The park also can arrange seats at any of the dozens of shows Branson is so famous for. Yes, it’s a Disneyland type of tourist town…Las Vegas for families…but the entertainment is legit.

Yesterday we attended The Petersen Family Band. This musical family has had a steady run for over 8 years and was a joy to watch. The families 4 children (from 16 to early 30’s, are gifted instrumentalists and their vocal harmony is beautiful. Their bluegrass/country/gospel repertoire is extensive in both cover offerings as well as original songs. Best of all is the obvious love they have for each other, their music and their faith. Refreshing in today’s world.

You may remember Ellen Peterson’s appearance on American Idol in 2015.

Here’s a song from the group in yesterday’s performance.

National WWI Museum

Kansas City…in the heartland of the US…from the Wizard of Oz…To Presidential Libraries…Jazz and the Blues….and BBQ,  Who Knew?

Today we visited Kansas Cities #1 visitor attraction….the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

In 1919…just weeks after the end of WWI,  more than 83,000 people in Kansas City contributed to a fund, raising $2.5 million in 10 days (more than $35 million in today’s dollars).  In 1921 the site was dedicated and the facility opened in 1926 in front of a crowd of 150,000 people, including President Calvin Coolidge.

The Memorial originally consisted of the 217-foot-tall Liberty Memorial Tower and two Exhibit Halls.



In 1994 the Memorial closed due to structural deterioration of the Memorial courtyard.  Once again the people of Kansas City voted to restore the Memorial and create a Museum to house not only their own extensive collection of artifacts but countless similiar collections that had waned in attendance as time passed from the end of WWI in 1918.  Death of the Last Known WWI Veteran

This was an impressive museum.  Our tour lasted 2 1/2 hours and covered much, but not all of the history and artifacts present.  Tickets purchased are good for 2 days attendance and it’s clearly more than can be seen in one day.

Although I was marginally aware of what started the war (the assassination of Archduke Franzmeier Fernidad of Austria-Hungary), I had no understanding of how the transition from 19th century led to the top causes of WWI.

There’s a LOT to unpack here that is relevant to today!



I had not realized how late the US was enter into WWI.  Although the war was principally a European conflict started in 1914, the US didn’t enter the war until April 1917 and the war officially ended November 1918.  The war was essentially a stalemate prior to the US entry and it was the entry of the additional US troops that hastened the end.  Not only did it impact the role of the US in world affairs, it also had a significant impact on the economy and military-industrial growth of the country….to this very day!

The saddest part of this story was the human toll the war took…and that was before we consider the weapons and technology of death the world possesses today.  Take time to reflect…and pray…that this “progress” is history…and not our future.E4A1A9B1-C2E3-4863-B15A-017D3E4D0A0E

Truman Presidential Library

This journey has been an amazing combination of witnessing America’s physical beauty and discovering more about its history.   Readers of the blog know that Presidential Libraries have been an especially interesting part of this trip.

Visiting Presidential libraries for us had been a walk down memory lane prior to Kansas City.  Both Karen and I were born during Eisenhower’s term of office (Karen just barely) but really had few actual memories prior to JFK.   Our visit to the Eisenhower library really helped understand more about America during and after WWII.

Our visit to the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri gave us a chance to explore an increment of American history prior to WWII and bridging into our childhood.  Truman grew up as a product of a Missouri farming family.  He entered politics in Missouri after returning from service in WWI and served as a State Senator prior to being tapped to serve as VP for Roosevelt prior to Roosevelt’s death just months after he was re-elected to office in 1945.

Harry S. Truman preceded Eisenhower as President and served between April 1945 and January 1953.  Although World War II had began with Nazi Germany’s attack on Poland in September 1939, the United States did not enter the war until after the Japanese bombed the American fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Presidency took us into WWII but his death in office in 1945 put Truman in a position to end the war with the use of the atomic bombs in Japan and into the Cold War those of us born in the 1950’s remember all too well.

Truman also presided over the reconstruction of Europe under the Marshall Plan as well as the transition of the US economy from wartime to a peacetime and continued struggle for civil rights.

Of particular interest for me we’re the geo-political insights from this period including the Cold War with Russia, Israel and the Korean War and China’s role which filled in a lot of “the blanks” to current events.

And, as a finale the Library had a wonderful tribute to the year of my birth with Life Magazine covers and articles throughout 1952!

BBQ and Blues

Jazz and Blues…an American music tradition. BBQ…an American food tradition…Kansas City has both and our evening at BB’s Lawnside BBQ did not disappoint.

I had the Burned Ends Dinner and Karen had Memphis Minnie’s’ Smoked Catfish. Both wonderful!

The highlight was young Taylor Swift and the Taylor Swift Band.