World War I memorial dedication celebrates Belgian immigration t - KCTV5

World War I memorial dedication celebrates Belgian immigration to Shawnee

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West Flanders Park was dedicated Tuesday with World War II and Shawnee's cultural heritage in mind. (Natalie Davis/KCTV5 News) West Flanders Park was dedicated Tuesday with World War II and Shawnee's cultural heritage in mind. (Natalie Davis/KCTV5 News)
SHAWNEE, KS (KCTV) -

The World War I Memorial Plaza was dedicated in Shawnee Tuesday, with the war and Shawnee's cultural heritage in mind. 

“It celebrates the Belgian immigration to Shawnee and what they did here and then also the land that they came from in West Flanders that was thoroughly torn up in World War I,” said Charles Pautler, the director of Shawnee Town Museum.

Pautler says at least half of those who lived in Shawnee, historically, are from Belgium. 

“They played a huge role in the market economy, truck farming … they bought small farm plots similar to the way they do it in Belgium. They grew vegetables here, sold them in the Kansas City market and made their living,” Pautler said. 

West Flanders Park is named for Shawnee's sister city. People from Pittem, Belgium were on hand for the dedication.

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