By John Valceanu, American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2004 - The Smithsonian Institution will launch a major permanent exhibition honoring American armed forces on Veterans Day.
The Price of Freedom: Americans at War will occupy about 18,000 square feet in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History here. The exhibition will cover 250 years of American history, beginning with the French and Indian War of 1756 and running through the current war on terrorism.
“The overall theme of the exhibit is that wars have been defining episodes in American history,” said David Allison, project director for the exhibition. “but wars have multiple dimensions — political, economic and social — and this exhibition explores how Americans everywhere were impacted by wars.”
The exhibition will focus on the service members who fought the nation's wars, but it also will examine the sacrifices made by American individuals, families and communities during wartime, Allison said. It contains more than 800 artifacts, including weapons, uniforms, equipment, flags and medals. Hundreds of images, diary entries, video and audio pieces will help tell the story of what service members and other Americans experienced during war.
“It's not our words, but the words of those who lived these experiences that tell the story. It's their words that carry the message,” Allison said. “The personal stories are really a very important part of this exhibition.”
Most of the stories in the exhibition will focus on the service members who fought in the campaigns, rather than on senior military or civilian leaders. “This exhibit is less about military strategy and grand campaign plans, and it is more about the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen,” Allison said. “We are telling their story in their words, using voice narratives.”
To make this exhibit a reality, the Smithsonian is coordinating with officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs, various branches of the military, and the Defense Department.
Melinda Machado, the American history museum's director of public affairs, said the project has brought the military and the Smithsonian closer together.
“In recent years we have collaborated with both the Army and the Navy on major exhibitions, including one on submarines and one on the U.S. Military Academy at West Point,. Now we're working with the Department of Defense on this project. I enjoy working with the military. Everyone has been very enthusiastic and helpful on this project,” Machado said.
“Collaboration has been especially important for this project because of its size and the huge amount of material it covers,” he continued. “I think this may be the first time any American museum has presented this breadth of military history, also going into considerable depth on specific subjects.”
VETERANS’ RESPONSES OF NOTE:
TELL THIS STORY
Reference your “We are telling their story in their words, using voice narratives.”
I am a military retiree and a military veteran. I served the United States of America in the United States Air Force for 20 years from 1951 to 1971. Please allow me to tell my story in my own words, in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.
My story is about “the greatest swindle of all time… a broken contract with America's military retirees”. It's on the Internet at http://mrgrg-ms.org/swindle.ppt as a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. It's narrated.
This is my story, but any one of the other 1.8 million military retirees affected by this swindle could tell you the same story.
To be accurate, the Smithsonian Exhibition should contain some of the “good”, some of the “bad”, and some of the “ugly”.
I look forward to your response.
My fellow military veterans, retiree's, widows/widowers and friends:
Please help me begin a campaign to require the Smithsonian Institute to include the rest of the story when they tell about the real military veterans‘; exploits over the past 250 years.
It is my fond hope that the addressee forwards this message to the appropriate person(s) and puts me in touch with those who will tell the story.
Reference to the Smithsonian Honoring the regular veteran, do yourself a favor, while truly honoring the warriors of the “Greatest Generation”, please do so while a few of them and their Widows still live.
The class action law suit was won and lost because of politics and the Supreme Court refusing to hear the case. Why? More politics and the refusal of Congress to honor the suggestions of the Appellate Court.
Facts are available on how our Government swindled the warriors of the Greatest Generation and are refusing even to care for their Widows. To find out how, log on to http://mrgrg-ms.org/brief00.html
For more back-ground, log on to http://mrgrg-ms.org. If the real story is not included in the history of the U.S. Military, only more lies will be told and the perpetrators of “The Greatest Swindle” will have won again.
Robert C. Thompson
Proud Retired Military Veteran Since 1968
7574 Kelsey Dr., Panama City, Florida 32404