NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — World War II sent a special salute to veterans and holocaust survivors at the opening of the National World War II Museum’s new Liberation Pavilion on Friday, Nov. 3.

The Liberation Pavilion is the final pavilion for the museum’s campus. The new addition aims to show the significance of World War II by highlighting the costs of victory and the lasting legacies of the war in the United States and throughout the world.

Governor John Bel Edwards said, “Because of the brave men and women like many of you here, we have the freedoms that we enjoy today.”

“What we created here is an authentic legacy for them that for future generations after they pass on we’ll recognize what they did,” Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of War and Democracy Dr. Mike Bell said.

Many World War II veterans were in attendance like 98-year old Army vet, Anthony Pagano whose memories are just as vivid as the day he enlisted back in 1943.

“Me as a veteran, I feel so humbled that I did my duty, but I always recall the boys that died in my jeep. You know what his last word was when he was dying in my jeep, mama,” Pagano said.

In the new 3-story Liberation Pavilion, more than 44-thousand American soldiers who died fighting for freedom are remembered. The new pavilion takes a look at post-war themes and how the nation can protect freedom, democracy, and human rights.

Oscar-winning Actor and Director Tom Hanks is a long-time supporter of the WW2 Museum and he calls the new addition extraordinary.

“Each one of us can walk away from time spent in the museum with the single most important weapon. What is that tool? It is the common wisdom, that we know the price that was paid. Wisdom will be found to anyone that comes to the museum for the rest of time,” Hanks said.

Hanks remembers when the WW2 Museum was just a few warehouse buildings.

“This is an extraordinary place that has been built here. That day 23 years ago, the D-Day Museum was essentially two brick warehouses, a Higgins boat and a tank, and now look at it,” Hanks said.

Hanks went on to say, “Hope and faith can lead us to the greatest possibilities in the world that we can ever imagine.”

Hanks jokingly added, “Hope and faith collectively may lead to LSU beating Alabama tomorrow and if that can happen, we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.”

On Saturday, Nov. 4, there will be a Family and Military Appreciation Block Party on the Museum’s fully expanded campus. Guests will have the chance to meet Medal of Honor recipients. Military, veterans, and kids get in free, while admission for adults is $10.

Latest Posts: