I hope you and your family are staying well during this global health crisis.
As a WWII veteran, I am reminded of how the Greatest Generation came together under difficult circumstances more than 75 years ago. Today, our nation is again called to rise to the challenge as the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our communities. During these uncertain times, I call to mind the final words of Winston Churchill’s "Never Give In" commencement address at Harrow School, his alma mater, in 1941:
“Do not let us speak of darker days: let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days—the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our country.”
As our country faces another deadly and destructive threat, I am struck by the need for a similarly resolute response. We’re all in this together, and I’m confident that each of you, who embody the American Spirit, will help our beloved nation prevail yet again.
As you may know, The National WWII Museum temporarily closed on March 13 to protect the health and wellbeing of its visitors, staff, and volunteers. As a private nonprofit, the institution largely relies on admission sales, Memberships, and other donations to support its operations. With its closure, the Museum will be unable to welcome hundreds of school field trips and hundreds of thousands of visitors this spring. Over 20 tours to WWII battlefields have been cancelled along with dozens of public programs and events. Even with the most optimistic projections, the Museum will lose millions of dollars and anticipates a slow return to normal operations.
To support the Museum in a time of need, my wife, Madlyn, and I have established a COVID-19 Response Fund, and we personally made the first donation. As a Charter Member since 2004, I’m proud to be a part of the Museum’s mission and grateful to assist this institution during a challenging time. Other Trustees have contributed as well, and the fund is now at more than $500,000.
The Museum’s work must continue. Our institution has a responsibility to continue sharing the stories of service and sacrifice made by so many 75 years ago and to provide historical insights on the challenges we’re grappling with. The Museum’s educators, historians, and curators are working incessantly to keep the stories of the WWII generation front and center and provide helpful resources to teachers, students, caregivers, and the general public.
I know you care about the Museum’s mission, just as I do, and I encourage you to support these efforts through a donation to our COVID-19 Response Fund. Your support is more critical now than ever as the Museum faces the possibility of an extended closure and significant financial impacts. Your special gift will help the institution continue to be a national beacon for inspiration and learning as we face this current crisis.
I realize that this pandemic is affecting everyone, and even if you’re not able to contribute at this time, I trust you will continue to support our mission in any way you can.
Stay strong, healthy, and hopeful,