Parkersburg museum holds open house in honor of Veterans Day
PARKERSBURG — It was a day to remember those who served.
The Veterans Museum of the Mid-Ohio Valley held an open house Sunday to commemorate Veterans Day. People came through the museum Sunday, many veterans and others who had family members who were veterans.
“Today is a day of honoring our veterans and thanking them for their service,” said Candice Bennett, vice president of the museum’s Board of Directors. “The museum shows the veterans their service is remembered and honored. It shows civilians what these people did in the service.
“We aren’t going to forget them.”
Darrell Williams of the Parkersburg area, a veteran of the U.S. Army who served 1965 through 1967 including a tour of duty in Vietnam as a helicopter mechanic, said it is important to remember all of those who lost their lives in all of the wars the United States was in.
He had been watching coverage of President Donald Trump’s visit to France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I where the president talked about the thousands of lives lost then.
“It is Veterans Day and I am a veteran,” he said. “It is a day of paying our respects to the guys who lost their lives in all the wars.
“I lost some friends in Vietnam when I was over there. It is important to remember them.”
Rick Bailes, of Parkersburg, a veteran of the U.S. Army from mid-1969 to late 1970 including a tour of duty in Vietnam, said things were not easy for many of them when they returned home as the Vietnam War was unpopular to many in the U.S. He and others faced taunts and more at home.
However, as time has passed many people have come to view Vietnam veterans more favorably and honor them for their service.
“It has been a big turnaround for our benefit,” he said. “It makes me proud now.”
The museum unveiled its World War II documentary videos at Sunday’s event. Over the last several years, the museum has been interviewing local veterans who served during WWII for the series.
“It features many local World War II veterans, many who have since passed on,” Bennett said. “They are telling their stories of their time in the military.
“It is very interesting.”
They have interviewed around 18 veterans since 2011 and others are scheduled to be interviewed.
“They are also talking to veterans of the Korean War and the Vietnam War,” Bennett said. “We want all branches of the military and all the wars.
“We are hoping to span out over all of the conflicts. We are looking for other veterans to share their stories with us.”
Many of the veterans featured in the documentaries have displays set up in the museum, including uniforms, pictures and other things donated to the museum.
“We want to invite the public in and share in our veterans’ stories,” Bennett said. “It gives the veterans a chance to tell their stories.
“That is what our mission is here anyway, especially today.”
One of the videos featured Chester H. Moore, originally of Jackson County. He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy in WWII. He served in the Construction Battalion 99th Division.
His daughter, Christine Carter of Parkersburg, watched the video Sunday. She said her father did not speak about his service much to his family while they were growing up. It wasn’t until her mother passed away that he began talking about it.
“He told us stories,” Carter said. “His memory was sharp as a tack right up to the end.”
She found a website that listed veterans and the places they were stationed, according to official records, and all of the listings were places her father talked to them about through the years.
“The dates Dad would tell us were right on with what was in that listing,” she said.
She is thankful to the museum for putting this video of her father together so his stories could be preserved and shared with others. This was the first time she had watched it since her father passed away on his 94th birthday in January 2014.
She remains thankful to all of those who served.
“All of the sacrifices they made, all the sacrifices their families made,” she said. “A great big thank you to all of the veterans and all they sacrificed through the years.”
She is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary in honor of her father.
“He loved telling his story,” she said. “Personally, I loved hearing it.”
The museum will be closing down for two weeks in January. They will be rotating all of the displays in the museum and having another grand opening around the first weekend in February.
Originally, they were to suppose to be rotating the displays once a year, but it has been four years since it was last done. They have a lot of things they want to put out and display.
“We have all kinds of stories that we are putting together,” Bennett said.
Veterans Day Events
* Marietta Veterans Day Parade followed by program at Muskingum Park, 10 a.m.
* Parkersburg Veterans Day parade, followed by program at City Park, 10 a.m.
* Ripley Military Honor March followed by program at Jackson County Courthouse, 10 a.m.
* Vienna Veterans Day program, noon, Gold Star Memorial at Spencer’s Landing, Vienna
* Carlin’s Battery D cannon firing at Fort Boreman Park, 2 p.m.