NEW ORLEANS (October 5, 2011) – Many agree that the most valuable gift Americans possess is their freedom. In the spirit of acknowledging that, and in recognition of Veterans Day, The National WWII Museum is asking citizens to thank the brave men and women in uniform who protected it. A new campaign entitled “Thank You For My Freedom,” that harnesses the power of social media to send thanks to veterans of all ages, is launching today.
The campaign, which culminates on Veterans Day, November 11, aims to send one million Americans to a specially created website — myveteransday.org — where they can watch a heartwarming video and offer their personal thanks and best wishes to veterans by posting a personal photo, video or written message. The final tally and a video compendium of the most moving expressions of gratitude will be revealed at the Museum’s Celebration of Heroes event taking place November 11 on the institution's six-acre campus in New Orleans.
“We hope this grassroots effort will move the nation to take action,” said National WWII Museum President and CEO Dr. Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller. “Veterans paid the price for our precious freedoms. Today, Americans can come to our website and easily thank a military veteran in their own unique way.”
The centerpiece of the campaign is a heartfelt, two-and-a-half-minute video featuring Americans of all ages conveying the simple, yet moving, message of “thank you.” Conceived by the Museum’s Director of Interactive Services Jonah Langenbeck, the campaign harnesses the power of social media. People can post videos on the Museum’s YouTube channel or Facebook videos and photos captured on their cell phones.
“One of our most important missions is to ensure that the values of the Greatest Generation are passed on to succeeding ones,” Mueller said about the Museum’s special effort to reach out to younger veterans. “This campaign of gratitude is not only for those veterans from the Greatest Generation, but for all veterans who have served our country. Returning veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t being welcomed by crowds or with celebrations. This online effort is our way to thank them collectively, as a nation.”
“We think of it as digital ticker-tape parade,” Langenbeck says. “It’s how we can express our gratitude for all these heroes in a 21st Century way.”
He encourages people to tell their family, friends and coworkers to visit myveteransday.org, post their thanks and share what others have done. The video itself can be embedded on users’ web pages with a few easy clicks. Or, if visitors prefer, they can visit the Museum’s Facebook page directly and upload videos and photos. A pre-designed “Thank You” placard can be printed out directly from the site and incorporated in personal messages. Boeing is also supporting the Museum’s Veterans Day initiative as a National Promotional Partner.
Originally commemorated as Armistice Day, a day to honor all veterans of WWII, Veterans Day was signed into law on June 1, 1954. Traditionally Veterans Day is observed with a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and community events across the nation. Veterans Day officially honors living veterans of wartime and peacetime, but is often confused with Memorial Day, which exists to honor those who died serving our country.
The National WWII 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 designated by Congress as America’s National WWII 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 WWIItoday or visit our Facebook fan page.