My father’s brother died in Belgium fighting in the infamous Battle of the Bulge in 1945, one of the 19,000 or so Americans that died . His remains were initially interred in Belgium, but my grandparents requested that his body be brought back home to the United States.
Even though he died decades before I was born I feel great kinship with Uncle Walter. He died childless, so every Memorial Day my family and I lay flowers on his grave and I tell my kids about his heroism.
All told about 16 million American served during WWII and every day about 1,000 veterans die.
To commemorate those who sacrificed so much and to remember America’s role in WWII, historian-author Stephen Ambrose championed the National World War II Museum. The first phase of the Museum opened in New Orleans in 2001. Now the museum is in the midst of a $300 million capital campaign that will enable it to triple in size, and you, my friends can help.
For $200 you can buy a brick to memorialize a grandfather, uncle, aunt, grandmother, friend or loved one who fought or served.
Now a brick campaign is one of the hoariest of fundraisers for a capital campaign. Indeed, when I first glanced over the ad at the right in a recent Time magazine I was surprised that anyone would bother advertising a brick campaign in a national magazine. I thought, what cause could possibly generate enough affinity to warrant advertising a brick campaign to a broad national audience?
It may be that the World War II Museum is the only one.
As a fundraiser and marketer, my only complaint is that the bricks themselves seem so off the shelf. Two-hundred dollars is real money in the current economy. Fundraisers gotta do a little extra if they want people’s support.
For instance, why can’t the bricks display the rank of the person being memorialized; private, staff sergeant, captain, etc., rather than just plain text? For that matter, why not show their branch of service; Army, Army Air Corps, Navy, Marines, Merchant Marines, Coast Guard? Why not offer yellow bricks to those who served in the European Theaters and Red Bricks to those in the Pacific Theaters? Americans have never shied away from waving Old Glory, so where’s the flag option?
I don’t know if the text is routed in or baked in when the brick is made, but either way can it be that hard or expensive for the brick maker to add the flag or the service insignia?
Finally, where’s the expensive granite option? A standard brick is right around 7”x3”. Why isn’t there a customizable granite paver about 14”x12” for perhaps a $2,500 donation?
This caviling aside, please join me in supporting this important museum.
Labels: Battle of the Bulge, Capital Campaigns, National WWII Museum, Stephen Ambrose, Time magazine, WWII