Veterans’ Impact Project at The Virginia War Memorial

From FaceBook event page:

To celebrate Artober, we will be exhibiting the Veterans’ Impact Project Monument at The Virginia War Memorial.

This sculpture was created in partnership with artist James Robertson.

Please join us for the opening reception on Thursday, October 12th from 5-7pm. The monument will remain on display until October 27th.

About the Project:
In what is likely America’s 1st crowd-sourced veterans monument, The Veterans’ Impact Project honored over 170 veterans through a participatory process where community members and veterans operated a custom-built Roman Ballista to fire symbols of military service into a large clay panel. Those impressions were cast on site to create a large-scale relief sculpture with Principal Artist for the project, James Robertson. The resulting 5’x17’ sculpture is one of the largest in Richmond.

61st Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony

From the Virginia War Memorial website:

Monday, May 29, 2017 – 10:00am to 11:00am
VWM Grounds
Join us as we honor and remember all veterans who gave their lives to preserve our freedoms from the Revolutionary War to today’s conflicts. Guest speaker will be Major General Timothy P. Williams, The Adjutant General, Virginia National Guard. Co-hosted with the 11th District American Legion. The Galanti Education Center will be open extended hours Memorial Day until 7 pm.

The “Never Forget Memorial Run” is a 1.4 mile silent run from VCU and finishes at the Virginia War Memorial just past noon on Memorial Day. The run is hosted by the VCU Police Department to honor fallen U.S. armed service members.

The Thomas Jefferson High School Alumni Cadet Corps and Friends Band will play patriotic tunes in the Shrine of Memory at 2 pm on Memorial Day. Bring your own chairs and set up in the Virginia War Memorial’s Shrine to be a part of this invigorating program!

As always parking and admission is free of charge.

Military Book Sale At Va. War Memorial Saturday

From FaceBook event page:

Booklovers, stock up on a great selection of military and history books from the Memorial’s USS Birmingham Library on sale at bargain prices. All proceeds benefit the Virginia War Memorial Foundation which funds our educational programs, exhibits and events.

Saturday at 9 AM – 4 PM

Virginia War Memorial
621 S Belvidere St, Richmond, Virginia 23220

Fireworks’ Future

Oregon Hill residents have had a real love/hate relationship with the annual fireworks displays surrounding the Fourth of July. And if asked, I am sure it would mostly be ‘love’.

That said, this year the RVA Fireworks on The James (usually on July 3rd) is not happening. Before everyone complains and accuses certain Oregon Hill residents of being NIMBY party poopers, it should be recognized that the reason that they are not happening is that major sponsors decided not to support the event this year.

So, fireworks fans can certainly attend other fireworks displays throughout the area, including the free one sponsored by the City at the Dogwood Dell on the 4th. What happens in future years is anyone’s guess, but one way to adjust is to change the nature of the fireworks displays themselves by making them more respectful of nature.

The New York Times has a wonderful recent article on the increasing popularity of ‘quiet fireworks’:

In parts of Europe, quiet fireworks displays have grown increasingly common. In Britain, venues close to residents, wildlife or livestock often permit only quiet fireworks. One town in Italy, Collecchio, passed a law in 2015 that all fireworks displays must be quiet.

By relying on rich color effects and tight visual choreography, designers of quiet fireworks programs can forgo the big explosions and still deliver a stunning show. The hope is that softer celebrations mean less stress for noise-sensitive children, veterans, older people, pets and wildlife.

“We’ve seen more competitors in the last decade or so,” said Rino Sampieri, a senior display manager at Fantastic Fireworks, a company based in England that started selling a quiet fireworks package 30 years ago. “Today, quiet fireworks are part of everybody’s inventory.”

Quiet fireworks are not a new invention. In fact, they are used routinely in classic firework shows as visual effects to accompany the loud bangs. Think of the “comet tail,” which shoots into the sky with a trail of sparkles before quietly fizzling out. Or the “flying fish,” which features tiny tadpole embers scattering away from a silent burst.

What is new is the emergence of a genre of low-key, quiet fireworks displays for audiences that want the fanfare of fireworks without the auditory disturbance.

In addition, there is more development being done on ‘green fireworks’ that do not dump as much heavy metal residue as regular ones. Still, there are a lot of compelling reasons to just not do fireworks altogether. Perhaps the City leaders can take more responsibility and promote better alternatives. Laser light shows, for example, are becoming increasingly sophisticated and crowd pleasing.

Change In Command At Virginia War Memorial

From the Richmond Times Dispatch article:

John C. “Clay” Mountcastle, a professor of military history at Fort Lee, will succeed Jon Hatfield to become just the second executive director at the memorial.

The war memorial first opened in 1956. By the time Hatfield became executive director in 1997 as the memorial’s first employee, the shrine’s eternal flame was snuffed out and the memorial wall was on the verge of collapse. Hatfield oversaw the restoration of a monument drawing fewer than 10,000 visitors annually and the addition of an 18,000-square-foot education center. Last year, the memorial overlooking downtown Richmond drew more than 70,000 visitors.
Hatfield, who will retire June 15, also began the work on another $23 million project to expand the memorial’s signature shrine to include veterans who have died since 9/11 while adding more educational space and an underground parking deck.

Click here for the Virginia War Memorial website.

5th Annual 5K Run/Walk to Remember On Saturday

This Saturday, starting at 8 am is the 5th Annual 5K Run/Walk to Remember.

From Virginia War Memorial website:

Join us as we honor and remember the sacrifice of our United States military both past and present. The 5K race starts and finishes at the Memorial with a special Kids Fun Run. Memorial flags, each with the name of a deceased veteran or KIA, are placed at the finish line, reminding everyone of the purpose of this event. All funds benefit the Virginia War Memorial Foundation’s education programs.

Description in Richmond Family Magazine:

Join hundreds of active servicemen and women in uniform for this walk/run. The course starts and ends at Virginia War Memorial and includes a trek through Hollywood Cemetery and Oregon Hill.

Va. War Memorial and Hollywood Cemetery To Collaborate On ‘Tunnel of Honor’

The Virginia War Memorial and Hollywood Cemetery directors are announcing planning has started for a giant new collaborative project, “The Virginia Tunnel of Honor”, that will connect the two institutions.

Design specifications are still in their infancy, but the concept is to expand upon the already planned underground parking garage expansion for the War Memorial and build a pedestrian tunnel from that point that would go underneath Belvidere Street roughly at Holly Street and have a corresponding entrance in Hollywood Cemetery. The tunnel, which would be roughly 60 feet underground at its deeper points, would be very finished and allow wheelchair access. It may include a branch tunnel to the North Bank trail area, if the City approves the concept.

The overall theme of this new collaboration would build upon the underground nature of the project and would be dedicated to “Virginia’s Fallen Secret Warriors” who have fought and died in clandestine conflicts around the world and throughout American history. This will include honoring ‘secret veterans’ previously and newly buried in Hollywood Cemetery.

Because of new, quiet tunneling technology, project organizers have told Oregon Hill residents that they will not be disturbed by this additional new construction, which will take at least three years to finish. Construction is not expected to start for at least another year.

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