I pretty much spent last weekend at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. I feel so at home there, surrounded by people who love their Country. Of course, hanging with Sir JJ Witmeyer, (who is like Norm form Cheers there) helps. Friday was the grand opening with all the stars and hoopla. The day was not about the guests of the veterans though, it was about the veterans – as it should be. The morning ceremony was long and though I made new friends in my seats, it was kind of a bummer to be away from JJ. After the ceremony, the active duty and veterans in attendance were brought to a huge tent where they were served lunch by the politicians and celebrities in attendance. JJ managed to get Tom Hanks to sign a picture of the 2 of them in Versailles last year, taken when he was presented the French Legion of Honor Medal. That was his mission and he achieved success! Next, they were all sent in with Tom Hanks for a screening of the 4D movie “Beyond All Boundaries.” After the viewing the guests reconnected with the veterans. JJ was sort of shaken up by the movie and said it was a little too realistic and loud. We enjoyed the afternoon with the entertainment and had a little down time before the evening festivities began.
We arrived for cocktails at the new bar/canteen and then moved on over to view the live show that was most enjoyable. Period dressed females and men in armed forces uniforms, singing and dancing with them, made for a spectacular show. Next, were scheduled to see “Beyond all Boundaries,” which would be followed by a reception. I TRIED to get JJ to skip it and he insisted (he is more stubborn than me) that I see it. So we sat there together as I watched him flinch his body and saw some of his experessions as I soaked in the whole experience. Because that is what it was – a phenomenal experience! There were props, snow, sound, seats that move with gunfire, and even smell. It was good overview of WWII and I walked away from it deeply moved. I would not expect JJ to see the movie the way I did. Then again, each person will walk away from it with their own experience. My boys (11 & 13) were going to see it the next day with my husband. I was a little concerned about it but they LOVED it. I warned them of the Holocaust scenes but it is nothing they have not seen on the History Channel and it is their heritage, so I can’t shield them from that. I did choose not to let my 9yo daughter watch it and think that is a good call for now.
I would encourage EVERY US citizen, young and old to please come visit this museum, spend a couple of days here if you are from out of town and be sure to see the movie. This is history preserved and as long as the museum still has WWII docents like JJ around to share their knowledge and experiences, you should make it a point to visit. Then again, long after the WWII Veterans are gone, this museum will preserve the heritage of, “The Greatest Generation.”
BTW – I failed my mission to get a Soldiers’ Angels coin to Tom Brokaw and Tom Hanks. They disappeared right after the movie premier with the vets. Oh well – next time!
You can view some pictures I took here.
c/p at Hooah Wife & Friends