Wal-Mart stores help raise money for WWII memorial
By Vincent Z. Whaley
City Press Staff Writer
(PUBLISHED Sunday, Sept. 12, 1999)
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. Positioned between
the Vietnam War and Korean War veterans memorials
at the National Mall in Washington, construction
of the World War II Memorial is scheduled to
begin by Veterans Day 2000.
There is just one problem.
The American Battle Monuments Commission
a federal agency that operates U.S. military
cemeteries and monuments worldwide stil
needs about $30 million in private contributions
before the $100 million memorial can be built.
To help the commission come up with the money,
Wal-Mart stores nationwide will hold a special
fund drive from Veterans Day to Memorial Day
2000. Some local Wal-Mart stores, however, have
already begun accepting donations.
Buddy Kolb, store manager of Wal-Mart No. 680
in Greeneville, has set up an empty aquarium
with memorial information at the entrance of
his store for patrons who wish to make monetary
contributions. During the first week, Kolb said
the store raised more than $200.
"Wal-Mart associates see this as a real
worthwhile thing," he said. "Most
of us are very surprised that our country doesn't
have a World War II memorial. It's hard to believe
that we have gone 54 years without a memorial
to World War II veterans, and Wal-Mart is taking
a major role in raising funds for the memorial.
Patrons can drop money into the aquarium, and
we may also set up canisters at the registers
so people can drop in some change or bills."
Kolb said Wal-Mart associates are planning other
community activities to help raise funds for
"Some local schoolchildren will be coloring
paper United States flags, and we will offer
those to the public for a donation, whether
they want to give a nickel or $100 in memory
of World War II veterans," he said. "We'll
post those flags up in the store, similar to
the Angel Tree program."
In 1993, Congress passed legislation authorizing
the building of a national World War II memorial
in Washington or its immediate environs. The
authorizing legislation was signed into law
by the president on May 25, 1993.
According to Betsy Glick, the memorial's director
of communications, the memorial will honor 16
million people who served in the United States
Armed Forces during World War II, the 406,000
who died and the millions who supported the
war effort from home.
"And the memorial should inspire future
generations of Americans by deepening their
appeciation of what that generation accomplished
in securing freedom and democracy," she
Since the release of Steven Spielberg's Saving
Private Ryan and Terrence Mallick's The
Thin Red Line in 1998, Glick said the memorial
fund has steadily increased.
"With those new World War II movies, it
seems as if Americans of all ages are reliving
the courage and sacrifice of this special generation,"
she said. "We have been running a television
commercial about the memorial with Tom Hanks,
who was one of the lead characters in Saving
Private Ryan. He has helped us out a lot
since he agreed to be our national spokesman."
Information about the memorial, including registry
and donation forms, can be obtained by visiting
the World War II Memorial Web site at www.wwiimemorial.com
or by calling customer service at 1-800-639-4992.
Tax-deductible donations may also be sent to:
World War II Memorial Fund, American Battle
Monuments Commission, P.O. Box 96766, Washington,
Copyright © 1999-2004 by Vincent Z. Whaley
and the Johnson
204 W. Main St., Johnson City, Tennessee 37605,
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