Thursday, June 19, 2008

Honoring Virginia's war heroes....

"To honor our Veterans,
Preserve our History,
Educate our Children,
and Inspire Patriotism in All."
Virginia War Memorial

This month's Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative Living magazine is graced on the cover by a photo of former Vietnam POW Paul Galanti who lives in Richmond. He is standing in the Virginia War Memorial located in Richmond, that stately glass-and-stone shelter with the names of 11,600 Virginia heroes etched in its walls ... the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy.

My mother's oldest brother's name is etched on the walls ... a rural Virginia hero who died overseas in the waning days of World War II.

Paul Galanti was in the Navy and was shot down during the Vietnam War and held as a prisoner of war for six years. I wrote about him in my post, Talking over iced tea with living history ... former POW Paul Galanti, originally posted August 20, 2006.

Used for memorials and as a site for military homecomings from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Virginia War Memorial wants to expand to provide more space for those activities but also to expand its educational opportunities. The new addition will be called the Paul and Phyllis Galanti Education Center and they are seeking funds to help finance the effort.

Cooperative Living reports that the new facility will provide:

--A multi-purpose room and a training room to accommodate increasing school field trips, veteran groups, active military and general visitors and tourists.

---A dedicated theater to display the memorial’s award-winning educational film series, Virginians at War, which cannot be shown today if the existing auditorium is in use.

---Space for proper storage and access to the Memorial Research Library, which consists of books, posters, magazines, newspapers and films, currently unavailable for educational research and the general public.

---Exhibit space to highlight the wars in which our veterans have served and sacrificed.

---Space for the memorial’s Salute to the Vir­ginia Veterans computer educational programs.

---Permanent staff, volunteer, and artifact/ exhibit storage space currently housed in three overcrowded temporary trailers.

----Sufficient improved outdoor amphitheatre facilities for patriotic and veterans’ events at the memorial, currently supported by numerous off-site resources.
Those who would like to help support this effort, financially or otherwise, may check out the Virginia War Memorial site.

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