The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas is calling on veterans and their families to submit personal stories and photos of service men and women who have ties to Kansas.
According to the organization, this comes as part of a larger announcement that the Dole Institute will permanently install a large digital interactive display at the institute, as well as maintain a searchable online database, that pays tribute to Kansas veterans from World War II to present day. These submissions will later be prominently displayed in the institute’s Kansas Veterans Virtual Memory Wall, with a planned dedication in November 2021.
This initiative builds and expands on the Dole Institute’s existing Kansas WWII Veterans Memory Wall, which premiered at the Institute’s grand opening in 2003. It comprises more than 1,000 images of Kansas World War II veterans in Darby Gallery, the entrance hall of the institute. Since then, the institute has continued to collect images of Kansas WWII veterans for its online registry and has amassed over 4,500 images.
“Inspired by Senators Bob and Elizabeth Dole’s continued commitment to honoring veterans, the institute is proud to be expanding our original project to include Kansas veterans from WWII to today,” said Dole Institute Director Bill Lacy.
Audrey Coleman, associate director and director of museum and archives, said, “We’re excited to reconnect with people across Kansas to honor the service of thousands more Kansas veterans in the halls of the Dole Institute.”
The public may complete veteran profile submissions through the Kansas Veterans Virtual Memory Wall website. In late 2021, with the planned dedication around Veterans Day, eligible veterans will be featured in the halls of the Dole Institute alongside Bob Dole and thousands of other Kansas veterans, as well as on the online portal.
“We are requesting $20 per veteran to help us cover our substantial investment,” Lacy said. “But if a family can’t afford it, we will still honor the vet.”
Eligible veterans may have served in any military branch, during any era of service from WWII to today, and possess any title or rank. Although they must have some connection to Kansas, they are eligible for recognition whether they were born in the state or lived here for just a short time. Those who submitted a profile into the original WWII database should not resubmit; those veterans will appear automatically in the new Kansas Veterans Virtual Memory Wall.