Americans Rally to Celebrate Dedication of National WWII Memorial on Saturday, May 29
Local Viewing Events and Live Event TV Coverage Augment
Gathering of Veterans and Their Families on the Mall in D.C.
WASHINGTON, March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans across the nation are making plans to celebrate the dedication of America's first national memorial to honor the men and woman who served in World War II both here and abroad. With all 117,000 ticketed seats for the May 29th dedication of the National World War II Memorial now spoken for, plans are underway to bring the ceremony into the homes and hometowns of Americans everywhere. World War II veterans across the country have been waiting for this moment to arrive. Knowing many will not be able to travel to Washington to see their memorial dedicated, communities and veteran service organizations are planning local tributes on dedication day-in stadiums, city plazas, and American Legion and VFW halls. A specially-produced broadcast of the noon pre-dedication "Tribute" event and the 2 p.m. dedication ceremony that follows will be available for viewing in these venues via satellite. Those wishing to learn more about viewing events in their areas should contact their local veteran service organizations such as the American Legion and VFW. In addition, The History Channel and C-SPAN have each agreed to carry the two-hour dedication ceremony "live" starting at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 29th. These broadcasts will insure that virtually every American can pay tribute to the members of the World War II generation. "We are delighted that the veteran service organizations and The History Channel and C-SPAN will make it possible for anyone in this country to take part in this historic event," noted John P. Herrling, Major General, USA (Retired), secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission. "These developments bring us closer to achieving our goal of bringing the ceremony to the 3 1/2 million WWII vets who are still with us of the 16 million who served in the war." More than 60 percent of the 117,000 ticketed seats that day will be filled by members of the WWII generation. Individuals who requested tickets should already have received notification indicating how many tickets have been reserved for them. Those with questions regarding their ticket order should contact 1-800-297-1421. For those who will be in Washington over Memorial Day Weekend without tickets for the dedication, a non-ticketed viewing area on the Mall has been established that should accommodate about 10,000 individuals in seats and another 30,000 standing room attendees. This area will be between 10th and 14th Streets, adjacent to the Smithsonian's National WWII Reunion described below. Other Options for Those Without Tickets The memorial should open to the public sometime in mid-April 2004, so visitors may enjoy an early visit to the new memorial prior to the dedication weekend events. The memorial will be closed on Saturday, May 29th for the dedication activities. It will re-open as soon as is feasible later that evening. Smithsonian WWII Reunion, May 27-30, 2004 Coinciding with the dedication will be the "Tribute to a Generation: National World War II Reunion," a major four-day event produced by the Smithsonian Institution's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Admission is free and tickets are not required. The Reunion will take place on the Mall between 3rd and 7th Streets. Highlights include: * Reunion Hall: A Central Gathering Place for All Veterans and their families are encouraged to socialize, relax, and get acquainted with others and reconnect with their service colleagues. * Wartime Stories: Voices of a Generation Come in for a chat with prominent WWII veterans and war workers. Narrative sessions, and interviews on a variety of topics will be featured in this pavilion. * Veterans History Project Pavilion The Library of Congress Veterans History Project will present interviews, speakers, and exhibits that showcase first-hand accounts collected from men and women, civilian and military, who served during the war. Information and workshops on how to write, record, and preserve personal histories will be provided. * Preserving Memories Experts from museums and archives will advise veterans and their families on how to preserve documents and material culture of WWII, such as letters, scrapbooks, diaries, maps, photographs, memorabilia, medals, uniforms, etc. Weapons will not be permitted. * Building the WWII Memorial Members of the architectural, engineering, landscape, and construction teams will discuss their roles in creating the memorial. This pavilion will also feature an exhibition by the City Museum of Washington on the planning and building of the memorial. * Veterans Services Representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs, federal agencies and other veteran service organizations will assist veterans and their families. Information on veteran's resources and benefits will be available. * Family Activities: Passing It On Families of all ages are invited to move from station to station, engaging in hands-on activities relating to the World War II period. * Homecoming Stage & Capitol Canteen Stage Share the sights and sounds of dance and music from the World War II era (big band, swing, boogie-woogie, military music, and more) in these two performance pavilions. * Military Equipment Display Throughout the Reunion site will be displays of military artifacts and equipment relating to World War II. America Celebrates the Greatest Generation -- 100-Day Summer Tribute WWII generation members also can make plans to visit Washington, D.C. and the memorial throughout the summer to take part in a citywide, summer-long celebration called "America Celebrates the Greatest Generation." The celebration, produced by the American Experience Foundation in partnership with the Washington, DC Convention & Tourism Corporation and Cultural Tourism DC, will kick-off Memorial Day weekend and continue through Labor Day weekend. More than 80 WWII-themed exhibitions, performances, and walking tours, as well as hotel packages, are planned throughout the region-an unprecedented 100-day collaboration among the region's cultural, historic and hospitality venues. Scheduled events include: * The Associated Press's Images of World War II at Union Station * Corcoran Gallery's America's Four Freedoms on loan from the Norman Rockwell Museum * Spies Among Us at The International Spy Museum * Images of Memory: WWII Combat Art at the Marine Corps Museum & Historical Center For more information regarding the ABMC dedication events, please visit www.wwiimemorial.com. For more information on the Smithsonian's National WWII Reunion please visit: http://www.folklife.si.edu/CFCH/wwiioverview.htm For more information on "America Celebrates the Greatest Generation" events visit: www.americasgreatestgeneration.com
SOURCE American Battle Monuments Commission
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