LIGHTNING RELEASES 02/28/14 -Anchorage, AK – President Calvin Coolidge once said, “The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.” Indeed, as statistics show fewer and fewer citizens are enlisting for military service, the stories of the men and women who have worn the uniform and sacrificed their lives for
our freedoms become all the more important.
No state’s history is as inexorably linked to the military as Alaska’s. Alaska is home to the highest veteran population per capita of any state in the union and it is the only state in the union where each of the military services played a significant role in shaping the state into what it is today.
Until recently, however, it was also the only state in the union without a veteran’s museum. That all changed in 2011, thanks to the efforts of Col. Suellyn Wright Novak, a former full colonel squadron commander with over 32 years of service in the United States Air Force. Today, Novak is the executive director of the Alaska Veteran’s Museum, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the memory of Alaska’s veterans and their sacrifices for America’s freedom.
“People, especially young people, need to understand what our veterans sacrificed to give them the life they have today,” says Novak. “We are very proud to tell Alaska’s story.”
The Alaska Veteran’s Museum mission is three-fold: to create a museum; to educate the public on military service; and to support veterans and active duty personnel at home and abroad. The museum opened its doors to the public in April of 2011 to rave reviews and has since attracted over 17,000 visitors.
The museum features historical artifacts including everything from weapons and uniforms to photos and posters. New artifacts from all over the world are being donated more quickly than the museum can process them so they are literally bursting out of their 1,433 square foot space. In fact, the current exhibit only represents only one-fifth of the museum’s total assets. Novak says they want their own building but they need help getting there.
“When I addressed the crowd at our opening, I said, ‘The good news is we’re finally open after 10 years; the bad news is we’ve already outgrown it.’” recalls Novak. “So this is our golden opportunity. The first hurdle has already been surpassed: we’re open.”
Close-Up Talk Radio will feature Suellyn Wright Novak in a two-part interview with Doug Llewelyn on March 4th at 3pm EST and on March 11th at 3pm EST.
Listen to the show www.blogtalkradio.com/closeuptalkradio. If you have a question for our guest, call (347) 996-3389.
For more information on Alaska Veterans Museum, visit http://www.alaskaveterans.com