WWII veterans to speak at the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation in Vicksburg, MS
NEW ORLEANS (September 8, 2010) – The most popular attractions at The National World War II Museum are not the C-47, the tanks or even the breathtaking new 4-D experience, Beyond All Boundaries. Since the opening of the Museum in 2000, visitors have been drawn to the Museum’s corps of World War II veterans who volunteer there, guiding tours and sharing their stories. These men and women have first-hand knowledge and experiences that no exhibit can ever match. For those who cannot make it to the Museum in New Orleans, there will be an opportunity to meet these heroes and hear their stories on September 10, 2010 at 6:00 pm at the Southern Cultural Heritage Auditorium. Admission is Free.
The Museum’s Speakers Bureau is made of veterans who travel and speak in schools, civic centers, retirement communities and other appropriate venues. The group scheduled to speak in Vicksburg calls themselves the “A” Team. Presentations can last from 45 – 90 minutes based on the needs of the group they are speaking to and offer an opportunity for Q&A.
Members of the group include:
Tom Blakey - a combat veteran paratrooper with the U.S. Army Double A, "All American, 82nd Airborne." He jumped on the morning of June 6, 1944 behind Nazi lines at Normandy, France. Combat service was from France to Holland including action in the surprise German offensive in the Ardennes Forest, the Battle of the Bulge.
Vernon Main - a combat veteran airman with the U.S. Army 5th, Air Force, 13th, attack squadron. 3rd. bomb group. While stationed in Brisbane, Australia, he and his crew "borrowed" thirteen B-25 Mitchell medium bombers. As co-pilot of a B-25, his service, against the Japanese, including 50 combat missions in the Philippines, Java and New Guinea.
Bert Stolier - U.S.Marine Warrant Officer, served aboard the North Hampton. At Pearl Harbor during Japanese attack, manning an anti-aircraft gun. Escorted USS Hornet to the coast of Japan in escort of B-26 Bombers for the Doolittle Raid. December 22, 1942-Northampton sunk, survived in water for 24 hours, picked up by a destroyer. Campaigns: Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Circled the Missouri and watched the signing of the peace treaty. Landed in Yokohama.
Ronald Abboud - Team Leader, Vietnam veteran, U.S. Air Force, 159th Fighter Group, Louisiana Air National Guard. Worked with Dr. Stephen Ambrose at the University of New Orleans. Volunteer, Docent and Speakers Bureau team leader at the Museum since it opened in 2000.
The Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization, maintains the Southern Cultural Heritage Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The Center is a Mississippi Landmark property and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is formerly the St. Francis Xavier Convent and Academy and is one of the most architecturally and historically significant city blocks in downtown. The Foundation is committed to preserving the history and architecture of the Cultural Center, while offering cultural, artistic and educational programs for the community.
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. Follow us on Twitter at WWIImuseum or visit our Facebook fan page.