- The Washington Times - Monday, January 26, 2004

Opening ceremonies for the National World War II Memorial are sold out.

Officials announced yesterday that they will no longer accept ticket requests for two events scheduled for Memorial Day weekend.

“The reaction from members of this generation has been overwhelming,” said retired Gen. P.X. Kelley, chairman of the American Battle Monuments Commission.

More than 100,000 people have requested free tickets to the 90-minute dedication ceremony, tentatively set for May 29. There are 106,000 seats available. Officials plan to provide veterans and their families with information about their ticket allotments in mid-February. Those placed on a waiting list will be notified in March, with final ticket distribution expected in mid-April.

Fewer than 4 million of the 16 million Americans who served in uniform during the war years are still alive. And they are getting older by the day. “The youngest World War II vets are in their late 70s. Most of them are in their 80s,” said Mike Conley, a spokesman for the memorial.

Tourists will be allowed to visit the 7.4-acre site between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument beginning in April. The weekend dedication is the central event of a weekend titled “Tribute to a Generation.”

All 33,000 seats for three performances of a musical “Salute to World War II Veterans” at MCI Center are taken.

On the Mall, the Smithsonian will host the “National World War II Reunion” from May 27 to 31. No tickets are required. It will include live performances, military equipment displays and a veteran’s history project pavilion.

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