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Step into WWI trenches in 'big rig' gallery visiting Utah

Published February 15, 2012 3:54 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Walk through a World War I trench, or examine a Colt machine gun that took a crew of seven to load, aim and fire in 1914.

Honoring our History, a "big rig" 18-wheeler customized to display artifacts, photos and videos, will offer Utahns an "immersive experience" in the Great War on Feb. 24-25.

The truck will be open Feb. 24 from 2 to 5 p.m. and Feb. 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fort Douglas Military Museum, 32 Potter Street, at Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City. On Feb. 25, a WWI tank and a WWI ambulance will be on display, joined by re-enactors. A flag-raising ceremony is set for 1 p.m., weather permitting.

Admission is free but donations are accepted.

Waddell & Reed, a financial services company founded by two World War I veterans in 1937, created the traveling exhibit with the National World War I Museum, based in Kansas City, Mo.

"Through objects, through people's stories, we're going to try to give you a snippet of what that period of history was like," said Doran Cart, the museum's curator, in a video preview at honoringourhistory.com.

Visitors can see weapons, equipment and uniforms, including the flight suit and gear used by company co-founder Chauncey Waddell. The exhibit also explores the social and cultural landscape, the contributions of women, African Americans and immigrants.

About 16.5 million people died and 21 million were wounded in World War I, making it the sixth-deadliest conflict in human history, according to the museum. The deaths included 9.7 million military personnel and about  6.8 million civilians. 

The tally for the U.S.: 116,708 military deaths; 757 civilian deaths, and 12,809,280 military wounded.

Money raised at each tour stop will be divided equally between the local museum and the National World War I Museum, which will mark the centennial of the war's outbreak in 1914.

The tour marks the financial firm's 75th anniversary, and executives said they hope to raise $500,000 over the course of the year.

Waddell & Reed advisers comprise a network of personal financial planners with offices around the country, including Utah. Honoring our History is also sponsored by Ivy Funds, offered through the company's wholesale brokers, advisors and retirement platforms. —

Q & A

Are there any U.S. veterans of World War I still living?

No. The last surviving U.S. veteran of the Great War, Frank Buckles, died in February 2011. Florence Beatrice Gree, a veteran, of the Women's Royal Air Force lived outside London until her death this month.