Ribbon Cutting Opens New 9/11 Era Gallery
NGAUS Washington Report
(Nov. 20, 2012) The 9/11 Era Gallery at the National Guard Memorial Museum officially opened Saturday when a ribbon was cut following a meeting of the NGAUS board of directors at the association headquarters in Washington, D.C.
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"Two years ago, we looked at the artifacts we had from the last decade and realized that we simply were not telling the full width and breadth of the Guard story since 9/11," Maj. Gen. Steve Danner, the NGAUS chairman of the board, said in remarks at the ceremony. "So, we set out to change that."
With artifacts collected from across the entire Guard and funds provided by generous donors, the only museum dedicated to the history of the entire National Guard now tells a fuller story.
Hendrick Motorsports, Lockheed Martin and USAA were the major donors, with more than 40 other companies also contributing.
Danner noted, too, that many individuals gave checks of $25 to $50 to help with what he said has been a "labor of love" for the National Guard Educational Foundation, which operates the museum.
Danner, who is the adjutant general of Missouri, became emotional when mentioning what will surely become the museum's centerpiece--a wall with the names of 763 Guardsmen who have fallen in the war on terrorism.
"It serves to remind us that our progress as a force, much like the freedom we enjoy as Americans, comes at a cost," he said.
The gallery tells the story of the Guard since 9/11, but is not limited to the overseas efforts or those on the battlefield. The domestic response following Hurricane Katrina and the humanitarian effort in the wake of a killer tsunami in Haiti are mentioned.
So, too, are the State Partnership Program, the Agricultural Development Teams and the elevation of the chief of the National Guard Bureau to four-star rank and a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Other speakers included Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, the vice chief of the National Guard Bureau; retired Gen. Craig R. McKinley, the former chief of the National Guard Bureau; Diane Luensmann, the director of communications for Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., who read a letter from the congressman, and Will Goodman, senior defense advisor for Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.