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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