V-MAIL SNEAK PEEK: FALL 2013:
Honor Your Hero
Limited Edition: Campaigns of Courage Bricks
They say that in order to create lasting memories, you must first pave the way.
Each day at The National WWII Museum, we work hard to tell the stories of our WWII heroes, their struggles and their sacrifice. But, as we find ourselves moving further away from that critical time in our history, we realize that fewer and fewer young people will actually encounter individuals from that era. It is crucial that the Museum create a bridge between the actual events of WWII and the preservation of those stories in the hearts and minds of future generations.
Today, as we advance in the construction of Campaigns of Courage: European and Pacific Theaters, we have a unique opportunity for you to create a lasting tribute to loved ones who served their country.
For $500, the Campaigns of Courage Commemorative Brick Package includes a beautiful charcoal gray brick that can be engraved with three lines of personalized text to list your name, the name of a WWII veteran or civilian, a military unit, squadron, ship or branch of the armed forces. The brick will be installed in the atrium of the new Campaigns of Courage pavilion. In addition, you will receive a commemorative certificate as well as a personalized book that provides a timeline of WWII.
These fathers and grandfathers, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors overcame a massive challenge and they deserve a memorial that will last for generations to come. There isn’t much time to secure your brick in this exciting new pavilion. As you read this, our engineers, architects, historians, curators and staff are meeting almost every day to finalize construction on Campaigns of Courage. Our goal is to have the entire atrium filled with the names of families and their veterans when we open the Road to Berlin exhibit gallery in 2014.
There are only 1,700 of these bricks available, so be sure to order your special tribute as soon as possible.
Veterans Day 2013
To commemorate Veterans Day, the Museum, in partnership with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, will premiere Dreams of the Fallen, a compelling new composition for piano, choir and orchestra by award-winning composer Jake Runestad. Featuring acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Biegel, Dreams of the Fallen was composed to show honor, respect and gratitude to those in the military, past and present.
"While we the public are familiar with epic stories of heroism and of intense loss, we hear very little about the afterwards of the war experience," said Runestad. "Thousands of veterans struggle to assimilate back into everyday life after living through a traumatic wartime experience. We hear very little of the continued struggles that these soldiers experience and so I hope to shine a light on their stories with this new musical work."
Inspiration for the composition was taken from award-winning poet Brian Turner, a veteran who has written two poetry collections inspired by his experiences serving abroad.
"I came across these works and was entranced by the immediacy of Brian’s language and the powerful re-telling of his war experiences," said Runestad. "I knew that his words, paired with a large musical ensemble, could touch people in an entirely new way and bring his important stories to life."
Turner’s poetry will be performed by a choir while the piano solo, representing one who has experienced war, provides an emotional response to the vocals. The orchestra will create a sonic landscape as the music progresses through three stages of the war experience: predeployment, service and post-deployment.
This very special event will be held November 11, 2013, in the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center’s 96-foot-tall atrium. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit www.nationalww2museum.org.
James Milton White:
A Family’s Tribute
The most successful American submarine of World War II is the focus of our newest interactive exhibit, Final Mission: The USS Tang Submarine Experience, which opened in January of this year. The Balao class fleet sub, with a crew of up to 10 officers and 80 enlisted men, sank 33 Japanese ships during its five war patrols, earning two Presidential Unit Citations and four battle stars for its World War II service.
On that final patrol, the USS Tang sent an unprecedented 13 enemy ships to the bottom. Tragically, as she fired her last torpedo of the patrol, the torpedo broached and began to make a circular run back towards the sub. Captain Richard “Dick” O’Kane and his crew frantically attempted to move the 311-foot Tang out of the way. She swung too slow and her own torpedo slammed against the port side, immediately sinking the surfaced sub. O’Kane and three others were washed from the bridge into the water. The men, along with five others who were able to escape, were taken prisoner by a Japanese patrol craft. The survivors languished in POW camps until being liberated in 1945. Seventy-eight men would perish in the USS Tang, which came to rest 180 feet below the surface.
James Milton White was one of the men aboard the Tang for its fifth and final war patrol on October 25, 1944, who did not return home.
Gunner’s Mate First Class White, a native of Springhill, Louisiana, was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his service. White steadfastly manned his battle station throughout numerous attacks against enemy shipping, contributing to the Tang’s success in avoiding intense enemy countermeasures and in completing extremely hazardous missions.
When White’s niece, Delora White Allison, called The National WWII Museum to inquire about honoring him with a tribute brick, she learned for the first time that her uncle was featured in Final Mission: The USS Tang Submarine Experience. She visited the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center soon after to see for herself. On May 24, 2013, ten members of the family from Arizona, South Carolina and Louisiana reunited in New Orleans to donate items from White’s service to the Museum’s collection.
Artifacts donated include a telegram informing his family of his death, a letter he wrote to his parents discussing the rescue of aviators during the Tang’s second patrol, his wedding photo, a photo album from China before the United States entered the war, a photo album of him and his Navy comrades before the war, some of his medals and citations, part of a uniform and several archival newspaper clippings regarding the Tang.
"He did not have any children, so nothing ever showed that he existed until I came across the Tang exhibit. Once I saw his picture, I felt compelled to get as many of his items as possible into the Museum," said Allison. "I wanted to donate personal items of his so that my children, my grandchildren and future generations would have a tangible memory of his service and his life. The Museum is the place that shows that he was alive, and it will always be there."
We thank the family of James Milton White for their generous donation which allows us to continue to tell the story of the USS Tang and the brave service of the men aboard the highly decorated submarine.
For information on donating artifacts to the Museum, visit www.nationalww2museum.org/give.
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