Fort Leavenworth ties history to new building
Dedication ceremony honors new command college locale, inducts explorers to Hall of Fame
It all started with a mangled, rusted pipe pulled from the wall of Bell Hall at Fort Leavenworth.
In the pocket of U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., the pipe traveled to Washington D.C. to illustrate the need for a new state-of-the-art building to educate the soldiers of the country's future.
After six years, Roberts' dream has come true as the new Lewis and Clark Center, which will house the United States Army Command and General Staff College, was dedicated in a ceremony Monday at Fort Leavenworth.
"This building we are dedicating today : is for the men and women who continue to defend our country as we struggle through a conflict of immense proportions," Roberts said.
The command college was moved from its old location of Bell Hall into the Lewis and Clark Center, a $149 million facility that contains "cutting edge" technology in every classroom.
The rusted pipe that started the endeavor now sits in Roberts' office in Washington D.C. as a reminder of what he said is one of the highlights of his public career.
Roberts said a center was needed that represented the work and dedication of the Army's leaders who started within the walls of the command college and went on to defend the country.
"You're seeing a doctrine of an ever-changing Army facing ever-changing challenges to protect our national security," Roberts said. "Whatever challenge we face in regards to national security:this center will basically be the epic center of a doctrine that will keep our country safe."
In addition to the building's dedication, Capts. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the namesakes of the building, were inducted into the command college's Hall of Fame.
During the induction ceremony, Fort Leavenworth Commander Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV spoke of the two explorers and their feat of mapping out the Louisiana Purchase that he said is often taken for granted.
"What they achieved changed the landscape of our nation forever and set us on a course for greatest," he said.
The parallel that can found between what Lewis and Clark faced over 200 years ago and what the country faces now is significant Caldwell said.
Like Lewis and Clark, the nation is on the edge of a new frontier and with the new facility Caldwell said the Army would be better prepared to meet those challenges.
For Stephanie Raimer of Hannibal, Mo., hearing these words spoken about her relative has never made her feel more proud. As the eighth cousin of Lewis on the Meriwether side, Raimer attended the ceremony along with about 23 other descendants if Lewis and Clark.
She said talking about the two explorers' accomplishments and the hardships they faced was inspiring.
When she received an invitation to the ceremony a month ago, she was surprised but honored to be invited to celebrate the dedication of a building she said would benefit so many for years to come.
Laura Lewis Streich of Madison, Wis., was another relative of Lewis in attendance. Streich, the first cousin, four times removed from Lewis, said she felt blessed to be able to attend such an event. She said her and the other family members were treated so well, which made the occasion even more special.