National WWII Museum celebrates Veterans Day with new exhibit - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

National WWII Museum celebrates Veterans Day with new exhibit

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NEW ORLEANS - On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the fighting of World War ended. In the nearly century since that day in 1918, the day once designated to celebrate veterans of The Great War now honors all United States veterans. The National World War II Museum celebrated with events throughout the day Monday, including unveiling a new exhibit.

The museum opened "The Train Car Experience." Visitors to the museum step into a replicated railway station. Tour guides become conductors as the roar of a steam engine rumbles and steam escapes from the opening between the platform and a life-size Pullman car.

"I thought it was awesome, " said Coast Guard Sailor Michael Wolfe. "I think what the WWII Museum is doing in thinking of innovative ways to tell the story that is significant not just to our nation, but to the world and connect it with different generations."

His 5-year-old son Michael Jr. approved, as well.

"It was good," he said. "I like the pictures and how they showed the video and stuff."

"Alot of Americans back in the 40s had never left their small towns or city blocks, and so they found themselves going off to destinations around the world far across the Pacific and the Atlantic," said museum Director of Research and History Keith Huxen. "But the way that they found their way to war was first on a train traveling across America."

Huxen said the museum wants the exhibit to help people connect with the recruits making that trip.

"Our goal with this exhibit is to give people a sense of adventure, and maybe give them a little bit of a feeling of what it must have been like for our grandfathers, great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers all headed off to new places that they had never been," Huxen said. "A sense of excitement, a sense of going on a journey and not knowing what was going to happen."

A big crowd filled the Louisiana Pavilion at the museum for the 2013 Veterans Day celebrations and the unveiling of the new exhibit, and organizers at the museum say the exhibit will only get better.

"We hope to introduce an experience where the visitor will be able to choose a real veteran on this train here and then follow that veteran in other parts of the campus," Huxen said.

Former Board member Robert Savoie and his wife, Lori, made a donation in honor of her father, Leroy Wayne "Pete" Kent, that brought the exhibit to life.

"It's an incredible feeling to be able to give a little bit back to the men and women that have done so much for our country," Robert Savoie said. "They have made this country what it is, that is, just 'proud' is too mild of a word. We are just thrilled."

Lori Savoie said she feels, "humbled and hoping that this will teach younger generations so much that they don't know about what's been given up for them. We have a nephew that served two tours in Iraq himself and we know what families go through."

The family is happy to play a part in preserving the past and honoring the present.

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