At the National WWII Museum, our mission is to tell 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—so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. But our work doesn’t end when visitors leave our doors. Community outreach and engagement takes many forms, but our proudest moments shine when we get opportunities to serve those who serve us: active military and veterans.
In the spirit of WWII veterans, here are a few ways we honor servicemembers and their families:
Memorial Day Goldstar Recognition
As part of the Museum’s annual commemoration of Memorial Day, we include the voices of local Gold Star families. One of our more moving yearly events, Memorial Day, serves as a time to recognize and thank those who gave their lives in service to their country. By inviting local Gold Star family members to speak, we remind all who listen that freedom often has a hefty price.
Maggie Cabot and Emily Kolenda, Coordinators for Army and Navy Gold Star services on the Gulf Coast, partner with the Museum annually to reach out to Gold Star families for Memorial Day. They had this to say about our partnership:
“The Army Survivor Outreach Services Program is honored and grateful for the continued opportunities to serve our Gold Star Families in remembering the Sacrifice of their Fallen Service Members. Sharing the stories of this generations’ war heroes and selfless sacrifice in the revered setting of the World War II Museum, exploring the histories of War heroes of the past, and teaching generations to come, is the living legacy of our current and future commemoration of Memorial Day!”
—Maggie Cabot, Louisiana Survivor Outreach Services
“As a Gold Star Coordinator, the museum has allowed for the additional stories of our Veterans to be shared through their Families. The Memorial Day service as well as other special events that Gold Star families have been included to attend and even participate in have provided a welcoming place to honor service, meet with others who support our military efforts, and provide the camaraderie for families across all branches of service.”
—Emily Kolenda, Navy Gold Star, Fleet and Family Support Center.
Knit Your Bit
Knit Your Bit is one of the Museum’s oldest service programs. Since its launch in 2006, Knit Your Bit's reach has been vast—more than 10,000 knitters and crocheters in all 50 states have participated. Through their efforts, the Museum, and our Community Partners have distributed 50,000 scarves to approximately 1,000 veterans' centers, hospitals, and service organizations across the country.
Learn more about our program here.
Bluestar Museums Summer
Twenty-twenty is the second year in a row that The National WWII Museum participated in the Bluestar Museums Network. A longtime time program powered by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Museum offers free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel including National Guard and Reserve and their families each summer. Starting on Armed Forces Day (Saturday, May 16) through Labor Day (Monday, September 7), active-duty military families must show a Geneva Conventions common access card (CAC), DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card to Visitor Services staff for complimentary Museum Campus Passes for the military ID holder and up to five family members. The military ID holder can be either active-duty servicemember or other dependent family member with the appropriate ID card. The active-duty member does not have to be present for family members to use the program.
The free admission program is available for those currently serving in the US military—Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, as well as members of the Reserves, National Guard, US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps.
For more information on the ways we work with and within the Greater New Orleans Area, check out our Community Engagement webpage.
Amber N. Mitchell is the former Assistant Director of Public Engagement at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA, where she led the public programs and community engagement team in their efforts to create innovative public programs for a variety of audiences, as well as purposeful relationship building within the Greater New Orleans area.