As we prepare to close out a milestone year, the Friends of the National World War II Memorial would like to thank YOU for all you have done to help us in our efforts to honor and preserve the national memory of World War II and to renew and reinvigorate the spirit of unity and shared purpose which defined the character of our country during the war years and to create the next “Greatest Generation” of tomorrow.
With your support and participation, in 2019, we:
- Continued with year three of our four-year World War II 75th Anniversary Commemoration. The Friends of the World War II Memorial is the only organization hosting a full four-year 75th anniversary commemoration marking every major battle in which American troops participated during World War II. This year alone, we hosted twenty-four very special 75th anniversary events, including those marking D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge, for which we were joined by many volunteers to solemnly read thousands of names of the fallen from these two campaigns over many hours at the WWII Memorial. You can find videos of each of these 75th anniversary events here. Friends’ WWII 75th Anniversary Commemoration kicked off on Pearl Harbor Day 2016 and will continue through the 75th anniversary of V-J Day on September 2, 2020 and is proudly supported by a distinguished WWII 75th Anniversary Honorary Committee. Don’t forget to check out our 2020 Schedule of Events, our final year of our four-year WWII 75th Anniversary Commemoration! The Friends of the National World War II Memorial’s WWII 75th Anniversary Commemoration is generously sponsored by AT&T with additional support from support from the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation and Worthington Industries.
- Further highlighted the 75th anniversary by working with WWII 75th Anniversary Honorary Committee member WWII veteran and Pro-Football Hall of Fame Coach Marv Levy to encourage the National Football League and its 32 teams to commemorate the 75th anniversary and pay tribute to our “Greatest Generation” during a game this season. Several NFL teams carried the ball; in particular, the Washington Redskins organization went all out by hosting veterans at a Friday practice at Redskins Park and then provided a suite for 8 WWII veterans and their families for a game during which they paid tribute to the veterans and even played the special 75th anniversary video that Friends produced, The NFL Remembers World War II
- Hosted our annual V-E Day, Memorial Day, V-J Day, Veterans Day, and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Observances at the WWII Memorial. And, just this past weekend, we sang Christmas carols and other holiday songs at the WWII Memorial in celebration of this wonderful Season of Giving! If you weren’t able to join us for these special ceremonies, you can watch the videos here or, perhaps, replay our Facebook Live videos (@WWIIMemorialFriends).
- Hosted the Fourth Annual Friends of the National World War II Memorial Teachers Conferenceat Georgetown University in Washington, DC attended by nearly 60 educators from 27 states and a Canadian Province as part of our mission to educate current and future generations about the everyday men and women whose character, courage, creativity, determination, and innovation not only led to the winning of the war, but also reshaped America. The 5-day conference featured presentations by fellow educators and other experts in the area of WWII history, tours of sites of WWII significance, a remembrance ceremony at the WWII Memorial, and a panel discussion at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center featuring WWII veteran pilots sharing their experiences and stories from World War II. All the presentations and the panel discussions are available for viewing on our website. Planning is now underway for next year’s conference which will explore the enduring legacy of WWII on America and the world, as well as its relevancy to our society today.
- Facilitated Community Service Projects across the country which are positively impacting entire towns and communities. You can read about some of the significant and impactful efforts here. A special thanks to The Taylor Family and the Crawford Taylor Foundation for their generous support of Friends’ education programs though the Jack C. Taylor / Enterprise Rent-A-Car WWII Memorial Education Endowment.
- Presented the 7th Annual Haydn Williams World War II Memorial Legacy Lecture featuring University of Virginia Professor William Hitchcock. Professor Hitchcock’s thought-provoking lecture titled, “Eisenhower, World War II, and the Making of the Western Alliance” which explored the role of General Dwight Eisenhower in forging the western alliance during World War II and the early Cold War. The Legacy Lecture was held at the National Defense University and was attended by active duty military from the U.S. armed forces and around the world. This year’s lecture was generously sponsored by The First Alliance Foundation, whose mission is to honor and enhance the French-American strategic and military alliance.
- Worked with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, the “mother” of the World War II Memorial, and Congressman Peter King in having legislation introduced in October, the National World War II Memorial Commemorative Coin Act, that would raise private funds to ensure that the World War II Memorial continues to honor and preserve the national memory of WWII. We join with Congresswoman Kaptur and Congressman King in encouraging other Members of Congress to support this important bill. Find out how you can help here!
- Continued to lead the effort to add President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “D-Day Prayer”, one of the largest mass prayers in history, to the WWII Memorial and to provide a contemplative space to remember the more than 400,000 American souls lost during WWII. You can learn more about this important project here!
Additionally, Friends continued to capture interviews with World War II veterans and other members of our “Greatest Generation”; profiled hundreds of WWII veterans on our Facebook page; worked with a tremendous group of dedicated volunteers; and much more.
We couldn’t have accomplished any of this without you
and your generous support and active participation!
2020 promises to be another historic year for Friends as we move into our final year of our ambitious four-year World War II 75th Anniversary Commemoration, which features more than 80 commemorations at the WWII Memorial; continue with our efforts to fulfill the congressional mandate to add President Roosevelt’s D-Day Prayer to the Memorial site; and host our fifth annual teachers conference here in Washington, DC.
As we transition into a new year with new challenges and opportunities, I am so very grateful for your continued and invaluable support. And, I hope you will continue to think of us during this special Season of Giving.
If you’d like to help us in our sacred mission to honor and preserve the national memory of World War II and to create the next Greatest Generation of tomorrow,
please click here to donate today.
I look forward to seeing you at the World War II Memorial in the new year!
All the best,
Executive Director, Friends of the National World War II Memorial
Originally Published: December 20, 2019