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Fighting for Democracy: Who is the 'We' in 'We the People'?

Special exhibit at The National WWII Museum explores the fight for freedom on the battlefront and the Home Front

NEW ORLEANS (February 8, 2009) – The National World War II Museum in New Orleans tells the story of the war that changed the world using the personal accounts of men and women from the battlefront to the Home Front. As part of that mission, the Museum is presenting a traveling exhibit that highlights the stories of some Americans that are not often told. The exhibit Fighting for Democracy: Who is the 'We' in 'We the People'?, presented in New Orleans by Chevron, is on display through May 17, 2009.

Fighting for Democracy features the stories of seven brave young men and women who went abroad to fight for freedom despite the inequalities they faced at home. Among them are a Mexican-American who was inspired by suffering he saw abroad to fight for his people at home, a Jewish immigrant who waded ashore after D-Day as a nurse, a Tuskegee Airmen who would give up his wings to stand up for his rights, a Japanese-American who left his family behind in an internment camp to fight for his country, a Filipino who would spend the rest of his life teaching tolerance to prevent another great war, a Chinese-American whose dream of flying would come true in the Women Airforce Service Pilots and a Navajo code talker who used his native culture to save lives.

Some would give the ultimate sacrifice for their country while others would return to continue the fight for the rights of their people. Through these compelling stories, today’s students can better understand the conditions facing diverse Americans before, during and after World War II.

“Supporting diversity is one of Chevron’s core values,” said Chevron’s Gulf of Mexico Business Unit Vice President Warner Williams. “We value and respect the uniqueness of individuals and the varied perspectives and talents they bring to our business, our country, and our world.  Chevron is proud to sponsor Fighting for Democracy at The National World War II Museum.”

The exhibition will be highlighted by an array of free, public programs at The National World War II Museum. For a full list of activities including films, lectures and hands-on learning experiences for kids and families, visit www.nationalww2museum.org.

To book a tour of the exhibition for a school group, call 504-527-6012 x 222.

Fighting for Democracy: Who is the “We” in “We, the People?” is presented in New Orleans by Chevron with additional support from the Eugenie & Joseph Jones Family Foundation.  The exhibition was created by the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, an educational program of the Japanese American National Museum, with major support provided by the U.S. Army Center for Military History. The traveling exhibition is made possible through the generous support of The Boeing Company and the U.S. Army Center for Military History.


The National World War II Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today.  Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National World War II Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-527-6012 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org.

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Fighting for Democracy Bios

Héctor García: Fighting for Equal Education
Héctor García was four years old when his family immigrated to the U.S. to escape the turmoil of the Mexican Revolution. Despite discrimination in the public school system, Garcia would go on to medical school and to serve his country as a medic. He would return to the U.S. to fight for the civil rights of Mexican-American veterans, students and citizens until his death in 1996.

Frances Slanger: Fighting for Freedom
Frances Slanger received regular updates from family in Poland about growing Nazi persecution, a fate the family escaped when they immigrated to the U.S. years before. It was these updates that encouraged her to join the Army Nurse Corps. Inspired by the courage of the men she treated, Slanger penned a tribute that would be later printed in Stars and Stripes Magazine. Hours later, she would be dead, the first American nurse to die in Europe.

Bill Terry: Fighting for Equal Opportunity
Rejected by the Army Air Corps because he was an African- American, Bill Terry received a second chance to fly for his country in the Tuskegee Airmen program. But he never made it to the air. Terry was convicted of a felony for protesting unfair conditions on his base. He would not be allowed to pursue his dream of law school or even vote until his pardon in 1995.

George Saito: Fighting for Civil Rights
George Saito grew up playing football and serving as a boy scout, an all-American childhood for the son of a Japanese immigrant.  When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, life would change for Saito and his family. The family was forced to live in an internment camp, forced to give up their home and their business because of their Japanese ancestry. Both George and his brother Calvin would make the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Domingo Los Baños: Fighting for Democracy Abroad
Domingo Los Baños followed the example of his older brothers and enlisted at the age of 18. He was assigned to the first Filipino Infantry regiment where the harshness of war inspired him to teach future generations that there was another way. His wartime experience would inspire him to dedicate his life to teaching tolerance.

Hazel Ying Lee: Fighting for Gender Equality
Hazel Ying Lee, a Chinese-American, rebelled against the traditional role of women, even as a child. After high school, she earned a pilot’s license and flying became an escape from discrimination of daily life. Though rejected by the Chinese Air Force because of her gender, Lee was accepted in the U.S. Women Airforce Service Pilots. Lee gave her life in service to her country in 1944.

Carl Gorman: Fighting for a Voice
Carl Gorman was regularly beaten and punished by his teachers for speaking his native Navajo language as a child. But in the Marine Corps, the language he loved was used to save the lives of his fellow Americans. As an original Navajo code talker, Gorman helped to develop a top-secret military code that allowed the U.S. to order artillery strikes, locate units in need of replacements and communicate orders for attacks undetected by the enemy.


Fighting for Democracy Programs

Sunday, March 1, 2009, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Movies at the Museum – A Soldier’s Story

Wednesday, March 4, 2009, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Lunchbox Lecture – The Chain of Evacuation: The Army Nurse Corps

Saturday, March 7, 2009 and Sunday March, 8, 2009, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Play – Song of Survival by St. Martins Episcopal School

Saturday, March 14, 2009, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fighting for Democracy Family Activities

Saturday, March 14, 2008, 12:00 lecture, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm booksigning
Meet the Author – David A. Stallman, Women in the Wild Blue

Sunday, March 15, 2009, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Movies at the Museum – Government Girls of WWII

Sunday, March 29, 2009, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Rosie the Riveter Day

Sunday, March 29, 2009, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Panel Discussion – Women in War

Saturday, April 11, 2009, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Family Workshop – Code School

Saturday, April 18, 2009, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Movies at the Museum – Aleut Story

Saturday, May 9, 2009, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tribute to World War II Nurses

Saturday, May 16, 2009, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Movies at the Museum – American Pastime

Sunday, May 17, 2009, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Panel Discussion – A Community Dialogue: Celebrating Diversity

For information on Fighting for Democracy programming, visit www.nationalww2museum.org or call 504-527-6012 x 229.
 

 

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