The public is invited to attend the pre-program reception which starts at 1 p.m. and the program honoring U.N. Peacekeepers which begins at 2 p.m., both at the Truman Presidential Library & Museum. There is no charge for the reception or program beyond the normal admission to the Library.


The second annual U.N. Peacekeeper’s Day celebration in Independence will be held this coming Saturday at the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum, 500 W. U.S. 24.

 The public is invited to attend the pre-program reception which starts at 1 p.m. and the program honoring U.N. Peacekeepers which begins at 2 p.m. There is no charge for the reception or program beyond the normal admission to the Library.

However, an RSVP by e-mail to unagkc@aol.com or by telephone to 816-560-4523 will aid the event co-sponsors, the Truman Library and the United Nations Association of USA, in food preparations.

The program includes six U.S. and foreign military officers who served as, or alongside, U.N. peacekeepers. The program will be followed by a short wreath-laying ceremony at 3:45 p.m. at the U.N. Peace Plaza and Fountain at Lexington and Walnut immediately adjacent to the Community of Christ Auditorium.

Only a very few persons are aware that during 2008 there were 136 U.N. peacekeepers killed in the line of duty; the highest annual number of fatalities sustained by U.N. peacekeepers since1994. Since the first U.N. peacekeeping operations were established in 1948, 2,588 U.N. peacekeepers have sacrificed their lives in peacekeeping operations.
Lt. Colonel John Curatola, Ph.D., U.S. Marine Corps, will provide his observations on the interface between U.S. military and U.N. and other multilateral peacekeeping operations. Curatola is an instructor for the Department of Joint Interagency and Multilateral Operations at the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. 
A peacekeepers’ panel consisting of Major Luis Cepeda of Spain, Maj. Peter Els of Denmark, Maj. Alexandre Harea of Moldova, Commandant Mark Hearns of Ireland and Maj. Milton Katariyebe of Uganda will be moderated by William G. Eckhardt (Colonel, JAGC retired), professor of law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Ray Geselbracht, special assistant to the Director at the Harry S. Truman Library will deliver the Library’s welcome, and Jay Sjerven, president of the United Nations Association of U.S.A. Greater Kansas City Chapter, will provide an overview of current issues facing U.N. peacekeepers. 

The U.N. Peace Plaza and Fountain in Independence is the only such memorial anywhere in the world other than at U.N. Headquarters in New York City. This beautiful world-class artistic plaza and fountain is owned by the United Nations Association of U.S.A., Greater Kansas City Chapter, but annual maintenance expenses of approximately $5,000 have been provided through the years by various donors since its beginning in 1998. The Plaza commemorates the U.N.’s 50th Anniversary and serves as a memorial to U.N. peacekeepers that have died in the line of duty.