I came across the image above the other day via the Kansas City Star. The photograph was taken in that city at the American Legion Convention in November 1921. They are hard to make out but the VIPs on the podium are none other than General Jacques of Belgium, General Armando Diaz of Italy, Vice President Calvin Coolidge, Marshal Ferdinand Foch of France, General Pershing, and British Admiral David Beatty. The photo cuts off whatever is on the far left, which is unfortunate because everyone including the big shots are looking in that direction. Of everyone present I find Foch’s presence the most interesting; later that same month he visited the still-under-reconstruction Roosevelt House on East 20th Street here in New York City. As I always point out to people at the TRB, he was on a grand tour modeled after Lafayette’s 1824-25 visit.
I searched a few online sources to see if Ted Roosevelt was present in KC for the convention. He appears not to have been, which makes sense as he was Harding’s Assistant Navy Secretary by this time. He had been in Missouri, in St. Louis, for the Legion’s founding convention two years previously. I assume these conventions were held where they were because these cities were located in the center of the country and thus easy to get to via railroad. KC is an important American city when it comes to the First World War. Theodore Roosevelt wrote for the Star for much of 1917 until his death in early 1919. So did Hemingway until he left for Italy in early 1918. Pershing was from there, which is why the Liberty Memorial and now the National World War I Museum and Memorial are in Kansas City. I have been to the Liberty Memorial once before and would love to get back during the centennial.
(image/Kansas City Star)