Q97 Snapshot: On Our Honor
You can’t miss the big orange building off Airport Road with a replica World War II German Panzer IV tank out front. I had the privilege of taking a tour over the Independence Day weekend, and was floored by what’s hidden behind those walls. History classes in school were a little boring for me (sorry, Mr. Holt!). This museum allows you to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of history, and truly absorb a piece of what others experienced while serving.
The museum’s president, Rob Burroughs, served two tours in Iraq, retiring as a senior chief petty officer with 19 years of service as a U.S Navy Seabee. Burroughs continues to serve as a member of the U.S Navy Reserves. He points out, “The museum is not about war; it’s about the men and women who wear the uniform and their patriotism.” The museum has been a labor of love for Burroughs. Many of these artifacts are from his personal collection, while others have been donated by veterans or their families. You’ll see a rare Civil War uniform, sword and scabbard, a 1917 Studebaker WWI surplus ambulance and a 1942 wedding dress made of parachute silk. More than 5,000 items covering the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, the Grenada/Panama/Beirut conflicts, Persian Gulf War, conflicts in Somalia and Kosovo, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are featured. Most recently, the museum acquired a statue from this year’s Tournament of Roses Parade float honoring Korean War Veterans. Approximately 15,000 additional items are currently in storage awaiting a permanent home. Renderings are complete for a museum site on land across the street, but red tape makes for a slow process.
Not only is Burroughs the museum’s president and curator, he also keeps an office at the newly formed Homeward Bound Project Headquarters next to the museum. The nonprofit’s goal is to provide financial and emotional support for post 9/11 veterans and their families. Services include temporary assistance, counseling, job training and more.
The headquarters also features a tribute to Naval Petty Officer Chad Regelin of Anderson, a bomb disposal expert killed by an explosion in Afghanistan in January 2012. A diorama containing a life-sized mannequin in full bomb disposal gear, plus replicas of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and added explanations and pictures ensure Regelin’s legacy. The items had to be procured through the Pentagon and were installed by Regelin’s family and fellow service members.
The museum is preparing to unveil a nearly finished mobile museum for outreach and school visits. Field trips and tour groups are welcomed.
With the anniversary of 9/11 this month, it may be a poignant time to visit. I would urge you and your family to make a trip to the Northern California Veterans Museum to see this amazing gift to the community.
Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 10am-5pm. Admission is free, but a donation of $5 is suggested. For more information on the museum, visit norcalveteransmuseum.org or call (530) 378-2280. For more details on the Homeward Bound Project, call (530) 378-8046.