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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Changes at the Memorial and New Artifacts

Hello, Friends!

So in the past few weeks, the National D-Day Memorial has gone through quite a few staff changes.  Felicia recently accepted a position at the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation as an Education Officer. She has the amazing opportunity to be a part of opening the brand new American Revolution Museum in Spring 2017, and we know Felicia has an incredible future ahead of her! Also, Liz is getting married in just a few weeks so her last day at the Memorial is this week as she gets ready to move to the Tidewater region of Virginia. Both Felicia and Liz mean so much to us at the National D-Day Memorial and we appreciate all they have contributed to the success of the Memorial, and this blog in particular!
               
Ches, Felicia, and Maggie
on Felicia's last day at the Memorial
Well now that the sad part of the blog is over, I want to introduce myself and another staff member who will be collaborating with me on the blog. My name is Maggie and I have been with the National D-Day Memorial since May 2013 as an Education Intern until January 2015 when I was hired on staff to assist Felicia with field trips and the planning of education events. I have loved my time so far at the Memorial being able to meet incredible D-Day veterans while getting to tell their stories to students and the general public! I am excited to take on this blog and look forward to this “sentimental journey” we are about to embark upon.

Today, I am including a post from Ches, the Memorial’s newest hire. She started as an Education Intern  in January 2015 and was recently hired to assist with visitors to the Memorial and our downtown offices. I am so excited that she will still be able to have a hand in Education by contributing to this blog. See her post below:
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As an intern and a volunteer, I have been mostly focused on Education and Curation. In my time here at the Memorial, I have had the wonderful privilege of working with some incredible artifacts as they have come into the Foundation’s collection. I’d like to talk to you about a new group of artifacts that we recently received and that I have been going through.

At first glance, the box full of random papers and bits of fabric didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary. After all, most of the artifacts that we get that are papers are usually discharge certificates and enlistment forms and identification cards. It isn’t that these items aren’t important or even exciting- they are! It’s just that these are among the most common artifacts donated to the Foundation since they keep track of individual soldiers and are easy for families to keep. So when I opened the box and took a peek inside, I was amazed at how wrong I was. Here was an assortment of items kept by a Lt. Leonard Childers from Appomattox, Virginia in the war, from his introduction to the war in France to his capture by the Germans and the time he spent as a Prisoner Of War (POW) in one of their camps. He had kept letters he had written home, the comic books he had gotten from the Red Cross, his German identification card, and so much more. He even had a piece of an SS officer’s uniform! These pieces are all in excellent condition for being as old as they are.

We are working diligently here at the Foundation to ensure that these pieces of history can be preserved for generations to come. After all, history is a precious and valuable thing, and having artifacts such as these help to bring that history to life. They shape our understanding of the past and give us a better appreciation for what our forefathers endured for us to be here. With the POW/MIA Awareness Day only a few days behind us, on September 19, I think it’s important to remember this soldier and his sacrifice. I want to thank him and his family for their incredibly generous donation of these artifacts, so that all can remember and experience the history of a POW, even after he has passed on.  Without these artifacts, it would be much harder for some to know the valor, the fidelity, and the sacrifice that these soldiers had while being held as POWs.  

These artifacts were generously donated by Marilen Childers King and can be found in the NDDMF Collection under the collection number 2015.0026. 


-Ches

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Gold Star Mothers Appreciation Day

Hello All,

Hand sewn service flag, WWII.
On Sunday, September 27, we will be honoring Gold Star Mother’s at the National D-Day Memorial with a wreath laying at the Gold Star Veteran’s garden in remembrance of those mothers who have lost a son or daughter in service to their country. Help us honor the women who raised the brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their beloved country.

American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. was established in 1928 and charted by the U.S. Congress in 1984. Gold Star Mothers were originally brought together by a woman named Grace Darling Seibold, who had lost her son in World War I. Knowing that holding her grief inside would not help, Grace decided to focus her pain on continuing to help wounded soldiers in the hospital and extending a warm hand to other inconsolable mothers. Forming an organization solely for these women, Grace’s aims were not only for mothers to comfort each other, but to also continue the loving care to hospitalized veterans far from their homes. The ‘gold star’ name comes from the tradition of military families hanging a gold star in their windows in honor of a deceased veteran. The gold star completely covers the initial blue star (blue meaning active service member) and was chosen to display the honor and glory accorded the person for his/her ultimate sacrifice for his/her country.
Gold Star Mothers during World War II

The first organized meeting was June 4, 1928 in Washington, DC. “The success of our organization continues because of the bond of mutual love, sympathy, and support of the many loyal, capable, and patriotic mothers who while sharing their grief and their pride, have channeled their time, efforts and gifts to lessening the pain of others,” said one Gold Star Mother member.


As war and conflict continue, more Gold Star Mothers join the organization, seeking comfort and healing through sisterhood and philanthropy.

Take care,
Elizabeth 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

POW/MIA Awareness Day Event - Sept. 19, 2015

Hello All!

I hope you are enjoying the beginnings of the beautiful fall season. As you know, the Memorial not only hosts a multitude of events during the summer, we also stay just as active in the fall months!

Jessica Lynch
This coming Saturday, September 19 beginning at 11 AM, the Memorial will host a special ceremony in honor of our nation's POW and MIAs.  Jessica Lynch, former U.S. Army soldier who served in the 2003 invasion of Iraq by U.S. and allied forces, will be the keynote speaker for the event. On March 23, 2003, Private First Class Lynch was serving as a unit supply specialist with the 507th Maintenance Company when her convoy was ambushed by Iraqi forces during the Battle of Nasiriyah. Lynch was seriously injured and captured. Her subsequent recovery by U.S. Special Operations Forces on April 1, 2003, received considerable media coverage and was the first successful rescue of an American prisoner of war since Vietnam and the first ever of a woman. Despite suffering from traumatic memories of such an inconceivable ordeal, Lynch continues to use her experience as strength to help others heal and raise awareness to the public.
POW/MIA Flag
Immediately following the ceremony, Lynch will conduct a book signing and copies of her book, I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story, will be available for purchase.

Admission is free from 10 AM to Noon. Call (540) 586-3329 or visit our website at www.dday.org/events for updated information.

American Prisoners of War - Vietnam

POW/ MIA Awareness is an annual event, held on the third Friday of September that honors our prisoners of war and those still missing in action. It is a day in which the government reinforces its commitment to account for those brave service members who sacrificed their lives for their country. It is important to remember to honor these service members and not just memorialize them. To many family members, the hope for their loved ones to return to them is still a glimmer of hope.

Here are the current POW/MIA statistics for many U.S. conflicts throughout our history:

Revolutionary War            POW – 18,152              MIA – 1,426
War of 1812                       POW – 20,000              MIA – 695
Mexican War                     POW – 46                     MIA – 238
Civil War – Union             POW/MIA – 194,743
                    Confederacy   POW/MIA – 214,865
Spanish-American War      POW – 8                       MIA – 72
World War I                       POW/MIA – 7,470
World War II                      POW – 124,079             MIA – 30,314
Cold War Era                      POW – Classified          MIA – 343
Korean War                         POW – 7,140                MIA – 8,025
Vietnam War                       POW – 766                   MIA – 1,719
Persian Gulf War                POW – 29                      MIA – 21       

Somalia                               POW – 6                        MIA – 2 

I hope you all will join us this coming Saturday to honor our nation's POW and MIAs.

Take Care,
Elizabeth