Gen. John Pershing’s Home

Among the thousands of roads, schools and other public facilities around the world named for Gen. John Pershing is Pershing Field Park in Minneapolis’ Fulton neighborhood.

Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I and America’s only six-star general, was born in 1863 in Laclede, Mo., a small town about two hours northeast of Kansas City. He lived there until he was 21, teaching for two years, before entering West Point.

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, the American Expeditionary Forces were a mere 25,000 men. Under Pershing’s command, the military grew to more than 3 million troops.

He came home a world hero and participated in the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City in November 1921. His home in Laclede is now the Gen. John J. Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site. A few miles west, Missouri’s Pershing State Park is named in his honor.

The historic site includes a World War I commemorative garden developed from the soil of eight European cemeteries that contain the remains of American doughboys. The garden showcases the Pershing Poppy, a blend of the Flanders Field Poppy and the American Legion Poppy created by the Smithsonian Gardens. More info at mostateparks.com.

Diana Lambdin Meyer