A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is part of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute on view until 1 p.m. Saturday, July 7, 2012, at Purdue University North Central in Westville, Ind. | Photo provided
Updated: August 6, 2012 11:41AM
During this Independence Day week, an exhibit continues that truly brings home the fact that freedom isn’t free. This exhibit is the American Veterans Traveling Tribute and the Cost of Freedom Tribute at Purdue University North Central.
“It’s an impressive exhibit, and a good educational event. I think this will give families a destination that gives pause about our independence, and what people have gone through for our independence,” said Paul McGuinness, vice chancellor at PNC.
He explained that the exhibit includes storyboards with information about the wars and conflicts in which the United States has been involved. These include statistics and information beginning with the Revolutionary War, and extending in time up to the war on terror. A piece of the Twin Towers is also included in the exhibit.
“The Gold Dog Tag exhibit includes the names of those who have been lost since 9/11 in the global war on terror. There is also information about the presidents, copies of important U.S. documents, art by a Vietnam veteran, and so much more, but the largest part of this exhibit is the Wall. It’s 360 feet long, an 80 percent scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall that’s in Washington, D.C., including the names,” said Liz Bernel of PNC.
In addition to paying tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country, the exhibit also honors veterans and those on active duty in the military, and police officers, firefighters and others who are first responders or who “protect and defend our way of life.” That’s according to www.avtt.org, the website of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, the Texas-based nonprofit organization that created the exhibit and makes it available to communities around the country.
Bernel said that the interest in and support of this effort from our area and beyond has been tremendous, and has included financial contributions to help PNC bring the exhibit to the area, plus many types of volunteerism. She added that additional donations as well as volunteers would be appreciated. Details are available online at www.PNC.edu/avtt/.
Some of the volunteers include musical performers who will offer a few patriotic or inspirational numbers at the top of each hour from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 5, and Friday, July 6. These include talented youth and first responders, an opera singer, a gospel choir, folk singers and an early music ensemble. There will also be evening ceremonies and taps at 8. A patriotic closing ceremony begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 7.
Bernel suggested that before visiting the exhibit, families visit PNC’s exhibit website at www.PNC.edu/avtt/ to print out a copy of the worksheet of questions designed to engage students in the exhibit by searching for the answers.
Also available online for printing is a commemorative sheet for those who may wish to make a rubbing of an engraved name on the wall. Volunteers will be on hand to help locate specific names.
PNC is at 1401 S. Highway 421 in Westville, about 8 miles south of Interstate 94 at exit 34A, and ¼ mile south of the Indiana Toll Road.