- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 13, 2004

The region’s summer-long tribute to World War II veterans has received a $2.4 million boost from sponsors.

Supporters including US Airways, the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, Starbucks, Museums Magazine and Metro have jumped on board with partnerships, cash and other donated services.

In addition, the cultural, tourism and hospitality officials have joined to create more than 140 WWII-themed exhibitions, performances, walking tours, restaurant offers and hotel packages in and around the city.

“This is the largest cultural tourism effort in the capital region,” said William A. Hanbury, president and chief executive officer of the Washington Convention and Tourism Corp. (WCTC).

The 100-day program, called “America Celebrates the Greatest Generation,” begins with the dedication of the newly constructed World War II Memorial during a four-day-event Memorial Day weekend. The events begin May 28 and include a memorial service and dedication ceremony May 29. The regionwide effort will begin after the weekend.

The memorial pays tribute to the 16 million people who served in World War II, the more than 400,000 who died and the millions who supported the war at home, according to the American Battle Monuments Commission, an independent agency overseeing the memorial. Fewer than 4 million veterans are expected to be alive when the memorial is dedicated.

“When visitors come to Washington to discover the new memorial, we encourage them to extend their visit beyond the Mall,” said Kathryn S. Smith, executive director of Cultural Tourism DC.

The summer-long program is produced by the American Experience Foundation in partnership with the WCTC and Cultural Tourism DC.

Events and programs in and around the city run the gamut from the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s display of Norman Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms: Paintings That Inspired a Nation” and a look at WWII espionage at the International Spy Museum to restaurants serving patriotic foods and drinks and hotels offering packages for as low as $99 per night.

The District, which usually hosts 5 million visitors each summer, expects 1 million additional tourists between Memorial Day and Labor Day. They are expected to spend about $177 million.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams said yesterday the opening of the WWII memorial and the summer-long events are coming at the right time for the city.

With so many visitors coming to Washington, the District has the opportunity to “put our best foot forward to show them what our city is all about,” Mr. Williams said.

To make the program a reality, officials have been working for more than a year to secure sponsors and iron out details.

As presenting sponsor, US Airways’ efforts, valued at more than $1 million, include discounts and packages for WWII veterans and other groups flying to Washington during the summer, plus a joint ad campaign.

The Arlington airline will be promoting the events in its in-flight magazine, which will reach 6 million passengers. In addition, the 3 million who receive US Airways’ newsletter and another 2 million e-mail subscribers will receive information promoting local events.

Other partnerships include:

• Starbucks will offer a special American flag cookie in its 180 stores in the Washington area. Ten cents from each cookie will benefit the American Experience Foundation.

• The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation and Time magazine created an eight-page, color supplement for 2.2 million students and 88,000 teachers in fourth through sixth grades nationwide. The supplement showcases WWII diversity such as the black Tuskegee Airmen, women in the war and reporters on the front lines.

• Museums Magazine is producing a 16-page edition of Museums Washington featuring the summer’s events, which will be distributed in Washington and New York and at Amtrak stations along the Northeast Corridor.

• The Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority, which runs Metro, will spread the news with Metrorail cards, posters in Metro stations, bus posters and banners.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide