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Taps and tweets at Liberty Memorial commemorate start of World War I

To mark the week leading up to the centennial of the assassination that sparked World War I, a lone bugler will play taps each night at sunset from the deck of the Liberty Memorial.

The gesture, about 8:45 p.m. starting Sunday, is meant to draw Kansas Citians together and perhaps cap an afternoon picnic or evening stroll on the memorial grounds. The National World War I Museum will remain open until 8:30 p.m. each night.

A formal observance will also take place at 2 p.m. June 28 at the memorial. John Menzies, the former U.S. ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina, will speak. Actor John Rensenhouse will relate stories of the time. A string quartet from the Kansas City Symphony will perform.

“It is our objective for it not to be a large, patriotic type of thing or celebration but instead a somber ceremony … to acknowledge the beginning,” said Matt Naylor, president and CEO of the museum.

People representing the assassins will be stationed along the memorial’s loop drive from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to talk to visitors about what happened that day in Sarajevo.

As part of next Saturday’s observance, actors representing the assassins will be stationed along the memorial’s loop drive from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to talk to visitors about what happened that day in Sarajevo.

And to add a modern twist, students and others from the University of Kansas will tweet the events of the assassination day from 9:30 a.m. to noon next Saturday. Volunteers will play the parts of 25 historical figures. Twitter users can follow through #KU_WWI, and non-users can find a feed at www.crees.ku.edu.

About 50 people contributed to a basic script that is true to history, but the tweeters will spice things up.

“They will add to it and embellish it and make it their own,” said Adrienne Landry, outreach coordinator for the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies at KU. “Lots of people are bringing different things to it. Some people are bringing humor, and we hope that they do.”

To reach Matt Campbell, call 816-234-4902 or send email to mcampbell@kcstar.com.

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