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Desert Storm Day

Chehalis Veterans Memorial Museum honors Desert War-era servicemembers

Although more than two decades ago, Desert Storm lives on in the memories of those that served. Photo credit: U.S. Army

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Since the attacks on the World Trade Centers Sept. 11, 2001, most Americans have come to recognize and publicly appreciate military veterans. Servicemembers from major campaigns such as World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Global War on Terrorism are frequently lauded and honored - and rightly so.

However,  servicemembers sandwiched in between Vietnam and 9/11 - what's referred to as the Desert or Gulf War era - are often overlooked.

To ensure that all veterans who served from 1975 to the present day get the recognition they deserve, the Veterans Memorial Museum in Chehalis is holding a Desert War Veterans Memorial Day event June 27.

"Post 1975, there were all these events, all these men and women serving. It was the Cold War. Those from Operation Eagle Claw went to rescue the hostages from the Iranians, members of the Armed Forces were killed in Germany and the Beirut bombings? What recognition did they get?" said Museum Director Chip Duncan. "What this day is about is reminding our veterans, ‘Hey, you may have served twenty years ago, or thirty years ago, but here's a day to recognize you because you did a great part in defending our country."

The event will feature entertainment courtesy of the National Guard Band as well as singer/songwriter Danika Macomber, who is on her way to Nashville to begin a career. There will of course be refreshments, and the museum's main gallery features 9,000 square feet with 85 display cases.  

But perhaps the highlight of the day will be its guest speaker, retired Army Sgt. Joel Dulashanti. While on a deployment to Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division in 2007, Dulashanti, who now lives in Oregon, lost a leg and suffered other severe injuries. Not only did he stay on active duty following his injuries, but he also went on to become an airborne instructor at Fort Benning.

The Desert War Veterans Memorial Day event, now in its fifth year, is in keeping with the museum's mission: "Veterans Shall Not Be Forgotten."

"The second year, I had a guy come up to me who was in Panama," recalled Duncan. "He's like, ‘Nobody remembers.' I said, ‘No, we do.'

"That's what we're trying to do," he added. "We don't want to let these guys get left out. This is one of those days to show we haven't forgotten."

DESERT WAR VETERANS MEMORIAL DAY, June 27, 2 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Museum, 106 SW Veterans Way, Chehalis (exit 77 off I-5). Free.

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