CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Visitors to the Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids will soon notice a change.
The exhibit on the connection between eastern Iowa and the Korean War will end in December after four years, according to museum director Teri Van Dorston. In its place will be the stories of local veterans with WWII ties.
“I get goosebumps because, to me, it’s so powerful,” Van Dorston said of a collection of bomb pins, artifacts that will be featured in the upcoming exhibit.
“Bombard safety pins, or cotter pins, of this pilot in our community who kept them, I believe, as souvenirs, but it also recreates the history of where he was and where he was. found its unity,” Van Dorston said.
This pilot is Army Air Corps Bomber Kenneth Oseth, and his jacket will also be on display. Van Dorston said Oseth spray-painted his jacket for every mission he flew, 25 in all.
“It’s such a unique and powerful duo to have the jacket and then we’ll display the bomber pins next to it,” Van Dorston said.
Van Dorston said his office received an “overwhelming” amount of donations. Some of them have been Ike jackets. “I have hundreds,” Van Dorston said.
With so many such artifacts, Van Dorston is planning a special exhibit.
“It’s important for visitors to see this rehearsal and, the sheer amount of Ike jackets we have, to see and visualize how many people in our community have joined this war effort,” Van Dorston said.
Van Dorston said it was “moving” to sort and organize the hundreds of World War II artifacts in the collection in preparation for the exhibit.
“The Second World War speaks to the band of brothers, to the band of sisters. Such long friendships have been made with people across the country fighting for the same goal. I can’t stop thinking about it when you see an exhibit or browse archives,” Van Dorston said.
The exhibit won’t be large – only about 1,000 square feet of space on the side of the hall. However, Van Dorston believes the exhibit will be deeply meaningful despite its size.
“I can’t tell the whole story of WWII in a thousand square feet, but I can show honor and we can commemorate and remember these WWII veterans in our community.”
Van Dorston said the exhibit is scheduled to open in January 2024.
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