Ceremony today to open World War II exhibit

Local show to collect donations for memorial

May 04, 2000|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

Americans' patriotism was running so high during World War II that women saved and donated bacon fat to the government so that it could be used to make explosives. More than 16 million Americans put on military uniforms during the war.

That feeling of pride can be found across the country, as evidenced by a grass-roots campaign to raise money and awareness for a World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, the first national memorial of its kind. Groundbreaking for 7.4-acre site is scheduled for Nov. 10, the day before Veterans Day.

In Southwest Baltimore, Loudon Park Funeral Home has filled its lobby with 800 pieces of wartime memorabilia. The free exhibit, including photos, newspaper articles, Army boots and a silk handkerchief embroidered with an invasion map, opens with a ceremony at 2 p.m. today.

Veterans and their families are invited to the funeral home, at 3620 Wilkens Ave. The exhibit will be open until Veterans Day, when funeral homes across the country will release balloons bearing names of soldiers killed in the war.

"There are so many people who served on the home front and on the battlefront," said Lani Holland, manager of Loudon Park, whose grandfather served in the war. "This was supposed to be the war to end all wars. We weren't supposed to have another one. We all know what happened to that."

The national memorial is expected to cost $100 million, of which $85 million has been raised. About $3 million is from grass-roots organizations. The rest is from corporations, veterans organizations and foundations.

Loudon Park Funeral Home will accept donations for the World War II Memorial and forward them to the national chairman, Bob Dole, a former Republican senator from Kansas.

"This is a memorial to the defining event of the 20th century," said John Shannon, director of development for the national World War II memorial campaign. "What emerged from World War II was the greatest democracy the world has ever known."

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