Memorial Day: How to Remember Their Sacrifices

The International Museum of World War II Educates, Enlightens and preserves

As we approach Memorial Day, we must remember the sacrifices our military service members and their families have made both at home and abroad. As a Navy brat, I was taught by my father to always remember the 7th of December to honor the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, which directly led to the formation of the U.S. Naval Construction Battalions also known as the “Seabees,” the area of the Navy in which my father served. Because of this, I am grateful for the opportunity to work with The International Museum of World War II in Natick, Massachusetts to support its mission to educate visitors about the causes and consequences of war, and to convey that war is personal and complex.

Formerly known as The Museum of World War II, The International Museum of World War II recently changed its name to better reflect its unique perspective and match the breadth and depth of its collection. The new name encapsulates the reach of the Museum’s extensive and rare collection with more than 500,000 artifacts, spanning the entire world at war—all of the countries, the cultures, the home fronts and battlefronts, the ordinary soldiers, leaders and those caught up in the dislocations of war.

As part of our partnership with the Museum and through strategic media outreach, we have helped to raise its profile from a little-known entity to an internationally-recognized institution. One of the most memorable campaigns to date was our work to promote the Museum’s exhibit honoring the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor: Why We Still Remember featured more than 100 artifacts documenting the surprise attack and United States’ response and provided a rare glimpse into Japanese atmosphere leading up to attack. Chronicling what transpired before, during and after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the exhibition presented the first message from Pearl Harbor to “All U.S. Navy Ships present Hawaiian area” announcing the attack in the first moments, pieces of a Japanese plane that was shot down, the first printed declaration of war by Japan on the United States, and artifacts depicting the overwhelming sense of American patriotism that emerged as a result of the attack.

Through our tailored, national media campaign the museum was featured in a total of 23 articles with more than 402 pickups spanning national, local, art and history trade publications. The coverage included a stunning review in the Wall Street Journal and included features in TIME, The Art Newspaper and the Associated Press on the rare artifacts on display in the exhibition. Plus, USA Today named the presentation one of the “12 best museum exhibits to see this fall.”

The media coverage is a testament to the significant and thought-provoking work the Museum carries out. Beyond the Pearl Harbor exhibition, we have had the opportunity to pitch numerous stories on the Museum’s robust educational initiatives, exceptional acquisitions, awarded grants and profiles of founder Kenneth W. Rendell, as well as other temporary exhibitions. This coverage has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Reuters and the Boston Globe, among others.  

The International Museum of World War II is a remarkable institution that reminds visitors of the human aspect of war. Military brat or not, if you’re in the Greater Boston area, schedule a visit to the Museum as a reminder of the sacrifices of those who have served our country.