Leawood Historic Commission hopes to resurrect tradition honoring soldiers this Veterans Day

The Leawood Historic Commission is hoping residents from around the area will leave the porch lights on this Veterans Day. Photo by Joe Shlabotnik. Used under a Creative Commons License.

The Leawood Historic Commission is asking residents to mark this coming Veterans Day on Nov. 11 with a display whose tradition dates back to World War II.

The group, which works to preserve historic sites in the city and document its past, is asking residents to leave their porch lights on in recognition of the holiday next month.

“During WWII it was an American tradition to keep the porch lights on for ‘our boys’ overseas. At the end of the war many Americans continued leaving the porch lights on as a symbolic way for the solders to ‘find their way home,'” the commission said in an announcement. “Many towns turned porch lights on, following the war, during specific evening hours to honor and celebrate veterans. The Leawood Historic Commission
would like to see this tradition continue each year on Veteran’s Day.”

The public art installation “Porch Lights” sits at the intersection of Somerset and Lee Boulevard. Photo credit city of Leawood.

The porch light concept has special significance in northern Leawood. The city’s original neighborhoods, which are now designated as the Leawood Historic District, were established in part to provide housing for WWII veterans and their young families after the end of the conflict.

In 2009, the city dedicated a piece of public art entitled “Porch Lights” at the intersection of Lee Boulevard and Somerset, marking the northern entrance to the city. Designed by one-time Leawood resident Dennis Reynolds, the piece features backlight colored class set in Kansas limestone that creates the aura of porch light in the evenings. The design is in the shape of a V, which was meant to evoke the “V for Victory” sign employed by Winston Churchill.