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Guardians of Freedom and Hand Knitters: National WWII Museum Marks Veterans Day with Weekend of Observance and Commemoration

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The National WWII Museum in New Orleans is commemorating Veterans Day with a weekend filled with events honoring veterans of all eras who have secured America's freedom.  Events will begin on Saturday, November 10, 2012 and will conclude Sunday, November 11, 2012. Special ceremonies, a symbolic artifact donation and a salute to Louisiana's Bicentennial Military Parade, which will pass in front of the Museum, are all part of the celebration.  The public is invited to attend and all US military veterans will receive free admission to the Museum throughout the weekend.

Saturday begins with a knit-in at 11:00 a.m. Area knitters and crochet enthusiasts will make and distribute scarves to veterans.  The effort is part of Knit Your Bit, a national grassroots program launched by the Museum to produce hand-knit scarves for veterans as a show of appreciation for their service. Since the program's inception in 2006, the Museum has received more than 20,000 scarves. 

At noon, Orlin Corey's Voices: A Spoken Word Tribute to Veterans presentation will begin and at 1:30 p.m. the Navy Band of New Orleans will perform.  The 34 musician sailors, who are committed to bolstering the patriotic spirit of the American people, will welcome the arrival of active duty military and veterans with their music.

At 2:30 p.m. the United States Naval Academy Women's Glee Club will perform and at 3:00 p.m. the Museum will honor the US Armed Forces with a "Celebration of Heroes" ceremony. All veterans will be seated in honor sections by branch of service, along with invited active duty military. The ceremony will feature participation by civil dignitaries, military leaders and Museum officials.

"The most valuable gift Americans possess today is their freedom," said Dr. Gordon H. "Nick" Mueller, president and chief executive officer of The National WWII Museum. "And that freedom is the direct result of the tireless efforts of the men and women who served and continue to serve in the US Armed Forces. It is our duty as Americans, particularly on Veterans Day, to honor these individuals and to express our gratitude for their invaluable service."

Following the ceremony, the Louisiana Bicentennial Military Parade will pass in front of the Museum. The dog tag of Louisiana WWII veteran John Mack, discovered in Normandy, France, will be carried in the parade and will be donated to the Museum's artifact collection. The public is invited to view the parade from the Museum. 

Veterans Day commemorations continue on Sunday. At 10:30 a.m. the Navy Band New Orleans will perform and at 11:00 a.m., the Museum will hold a traditional Moment of Silence.

To round out the Veterans Day commemorations, the Museum's own Victory Belles, joined by WWII veterans, will make a television appearance singing the national anthem during the Saints vs. Falcons game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome.  Kickoff is at noon.    

A National WWII Museum-led social media campaign, "Thank You for My Freedom," also aims to garner 1 million thanks for US military veterans, from those who served during the WWII era to the current day.  At www.myveteransday.org, users can post videos, photos and messages or text THANKS to 51555 expressing appreciation to all who have served in the armed forces.

Originally commemorated as Armistice Day after the First World War, Veterans Day was signed into law on June 1, 1954. Traditionally, Veterans Day is observed with a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and community events across the nation. Veterans Day officially honors living veterans of wartime and peacetime, but is often confused with Memorial Day, which exists to honor those who died serving our country.

The National WWII Museum tells 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. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America's National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who served on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-527-6012 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org. Follow us on Twitter at WWIImuseum or visit our Facebook page.

SOURCE National WWII Museum

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