Hearne: The Fix is In – Liberty Memorial to Relight Fake Flame

Liberty Memorial Tower 2Don’t look now, but the Liberty Memorial‘s eternal flame is poised for a comeback…

It’s been nearly a year since the once proud flame flickered mightily high atop the downtown landmark. The fake flame went dark last March as part of museum efforts to reduce costs and save energy.

“This was part of a three-part energy conservation savings plan,” says Denise Rendina of the National World War I Museum. “All three of those things cost $180,000 and we figure the payback on what we’ve done will be 2 1/2 years.”

A handful of years back the museum pegged the cost of keeping the flame alive at $45,000 a year but said it couldn’t afford to and sought donations.

However after doing an energy audit, the museum discovered the actual annual cost of lighting the flame to be around 100 grand.

That was the really bad news.

The good news is the flame will come back on this Friday and “We should see a 30 percent reduction now in that cost by reducing the amount of steam pressure that comes out and eliminating a thing called the ‘standby mode,’ ” Rendina says.

In a nutshell, the standby mode kept the flame’s pilot light ablaze 24/7, wasting energy during the day parts in which it was invisible to the eye.

Unfortunately, “Even by doing this reduction we’re still spending more than we originally assumed,” Rendina says.

The $64 million question: Is keeping the eternal flame lighted affordable to the museum in these challenging financial times?

“Yes, it’s an important part of what we are – of the museum and the memorial and what we represent that’s important to the community,” Rendina says. “People care about it a lot.”

And while there’s no longer a specific Save the Flame fund, “If somebody wants to earmark their donation, we can put that in a line item that goes to the flame,” Rendina says.




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9 Responses to Hearne: The Fix is In – Liberty Memorial to Relight Fake Flame

  1. chuck says:

    My Granfather was machined gun in the guts and mustard gassed at Belleau Wood.

    That is too much money.

    Put lights up there.

  2. BrotherSunday says:

    I wish the Liberty Memorial could do something. Kansas City isn’t quite the military town that a DC or San Diego is… but I wouldn’t mind seeing events benefiting the Memorial and Veterans’ Organizations. “To keep the lights on.” Or in this context, “keep the boiler and lighting system on.”
    Nelson Atkins does a fine job with annual fundraising through various events and membership and Catholic Charities just scored 1.8 MILLION @ their annual Snow Ball. Jesus Christ! Why can’t fund raising events be held inside the WWI Museum at liberty Memorial? Even outside? Formal event/ball where active duty, veterans, and civilians are all invited. Dress Uniform encouraged but not mandatory or something like that.
    Wow, what a view… on a spring night?? …Yes Please.
    SaveTheFlame.Org is still out there and still seems to be routing donations to this worthy cause, although the donation form on the WWI Museum website seems to be dated 2009 which is a shame. If someone knows the webmaster over there, let he/she know that if the year doesn’t increment on a page, people will think it’s a dead and not donate.
    Whatever – I think I am going to post it in a few spots around town and on FB. Maybe KCC can re-ignite this campaign – A very good thing.

    • admin says:

      I was told by Rendina that that Fundraising program had ended. Despite the fact that the website is still up.

  3. the dude says:

    KC largest phallic symbol to verility must never stop spewing!!!
    Fake bukakke forever!

  4. paulwilsonkc says:

    Chuck, I totally understand what youre saying and my fear is this “demographic” is slowly fading. Much like Branson trying to slit its collective wrists when the Boxcar Willy crowd is dying off and they can’t find ways to put butts in the seats, do you think thats the path landmarks like this will take? Who will be there to care enough about those great heros to keep it alive?

    There’s money flowing in the gutters for cool, hip, sexy things, like the Nelson, geesh, even the ZOO to some extent, but where will the hype come from to keep these great icons alive?

    • chuck says:

      The Liberty Memorial, is, imo, an exicting and educational attraction for folks with an interest in history, or just with an afternoon to kill.

      The entire experience, for any who go there, will not be soon forgotten. You in no way have to be a student of history or war. The displays, the audio and video presentations along with artifacts are mesmerizing.

      I took my wife and one of my daughters there by accident (In the neighborhood etc.) and I swear to you, I could not get them out of there.

      Neither one of them has ANY interest in war, or history. They can name the housewives of (Fill in the Blank) by name and know current events from the “E” Channel.

      They loved it and told everyone how interesting the whole thng was.

      It really is world class and a patriotic tribute to those folks, now long dead, in a war that should never have been fought. Because I believe that war was needless, somehow the display the Memorial is that much more poignant.

      Paul, nothing is remembered in the end, not Exeter, Warwick, Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester in their flowing cups freshly remembered, or, my grandfather either. Time passes and we are all relegated to thoughts and memories of folks who pass as we do, into the ether.

      Who the heck are these guys?


      No one knows, no one remembers and there most likely is no one breathing who could identify a single one.

      600,000 dead white guys in the Civil War fought for a fantasy and a trick of fame.

      Would that they were here today to evaluate and comment on their success (?).

      My father and grandfather were far more unpleasant and violent than me. Neither one of them would care if anyone remembered them or not, with the exception of those few relatives still alive, who knew them in life.

      We do, we will, for as long as we live.

      Thats good enough.

      • paulwilsonkc says:

        Its interesting when you say, who are these guys…. no one remembers. Chelle and I heard a very well known person speak a few weeks back who made the claim that, “X” number of years after he’s gone, no one will give two hoots about him and forget most anything he’d done. We both kind of laughed it off till the drive home…

        It was then that I got to thinking, my own dad is ONE generation away from no one knowing anything about him! Its interesting how quickly we disappear. I mean, unless youre Glaze or something like that…

  5. Hot Carl says:

    The WWI Museum is one of the coolest things in this entire city. City leaders need to make sure the flame always stays on.

  6. KCMonarch says:

    “I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time.” – Banksy

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