Since the grand opening, the museum has continued to grow, offering a place for veterans and non-veterans alike to share a part of the history of the United States.
“We thought that it would be a nice tribute to veterans and current soldiers,” said Cheryl Everhart, chair of Friends of Canton. “We wanted to preserve some of the history, so the young people today would know what people have done for them.”
The museum has gathered paraphernalia from World Wars I and II; the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf and Iraq wars; and items from Fort Riley.
Showcased in the museum are donations and loans from veterans and families of veterans, including uniforms, photographs, letters, food stuffs, medals and even a Gulf War shower.
“Most of the people said it’s nice to have (artifacts) out, because at home they’re stuck in a cedar chest and nobody sees it,” Everhart said.
Donations and loans have poured in from area communities including Canton, Newton, Roxbury, Lindsborg and from as far away as Salina.
“We didn’t want something that was just Canton,” Everhart said. “We wanted it to be for anyone, from anywhere, that wanted to bring in things.”
One particularly interesting artifact, Everhart said, is a letter from President Kennedy dated the day before his assassination.
“Good Housekeeping tried to buy the letter,” Everhart said. “They thought it was the last known personal correspondence (Kennedy) signed before he died.
“It’s really a neat letter.”
Everhart said it has been an honor to handle the donations and loans, and to hear the stories of various veterans.
“It is eerie, but an honor, that somebody trusts you to put their son’s stuff out,” she said.
“I don’t think we should ever lose track, no matter what we think of the war we’re in, or what we think of a war from the past. They didn’t pick the war, and they should be honored for doing service.
“And that to me is probably the most important thing––making sure that they all know how much we appreciate how much they do for us, no matter if we approve of the wars or not.”
Stars & Stripes is open on all patriotic and military holidays, or by reservation. The museum will be open for Veterans Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, and Sunday, Nov. 11.
To make a reservation for an individual or group tour, or to make a donation or loan to the museum, contact Everhart at 620-628-4484.