Military Heritage Museum
Fishermen's Village
1200 West Retta Esplanade, Unit 48
Punta Gorda, Florida 33950
Mon - Sat: 10am to 6pm
Sun: noon to 5pm
Admission is free
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June 2008 - Let the Military Heritage & Aviation Museum Tell Your Story

The Museum will be holding a Flag Day Celebration in front of the Museum from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 14, which is Flag Day. We will have demonstrations on the ceremonial folding of the flag and will talk about the flag’s history and the history of Flag Day itself. There will be lots of goodies for children, and we will serve refreshments. Please attend.

“Congratulations!” to the winner of this year’s stay in our condominium in Fishermen’s Village, our own volunteer Mike Marsh. I’d like to thank everyone who donated for a ticket. We’ll raffle it off again next year, so you’ll have another chance to win.

We are selling new products in our gift shop. They’re Watersafe units. These can be used to safely store water for use during an emergency. One model is designed for a sink; one is for the bath tub, and one will stand alone. Fill them up in advance of a storm, and you’ll have clean water without having to lug jugs from the store. Why is a military museum selling Watersafe products? The answer is that a very generous portion of the proceeds stays with us. So come in and buy one; get ready for the hurricane season and help support the Museum.

One of the reasons why I enjoy my job as much as I do is that I love hearing the stories veterans have to tell. Bear with me for a couple of paragraphs. I spent time recently with a couple from out of town who want to do something special for the husband’s mother. Her husband (stepfather to our visitor) recently died, and he left his military memorabilia to our visitor. The couple brought in a box of items from this retired Air Force major, and among them was a Distinguished Flying Cross. I asked if they knew how he had earned this award, one of the highest given, and they didn’t.

According to section 3749, title 10, United States Code (10 USC 3749), (in part) “the Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded to any person who … distinguished himself or herself by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight ....” It’s pretty impressive that the stepfather had earned this medal, and it’s interesting that he never told his story.

So that takes me back to one of the reasons why I love my job. What I have discovered during my many years in the military (including all of my time spent in the Guard) is that there’s a camaraderie among military members that doesn’t exist in any other segment of society. If you’ve never been in the military, you can’t relate. But so many of our visitors have served, and, with our volunteer guides (most of whom are veterans themselves) or other visitors to the Museum, that camaraderie still exists.

We’ve had couples walk in, and the husband will spend twenty minutes or more trading stories with one of the guides, after which the wife will say, “I’ve heard more now about his time in the [name any branch of service] than I’ve heard in the last sixty years!” At the Museum, we boast that what makes us different from other military museums is that, with many of our artifacts, we’re able to tell the veterans’ stories. And then there are the untold stories, such as those we may never know about our recent visitor’s stepfather. Or the story about a Purple Heart we received a few months ago that was brought in by someone who purchased a
house in Punta Gorda and found it in its case in the attic.

Don’t let your stories go untold. If you don’t have family members who will treasure your memorabilia, please donate them to the Museum, and tell us your stories. We’re here to keep those memories alive.

Kim Lovejoy is the executive director of the Military Heritage & Aviation Museum, located in Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. For more information about the museum, call 941-575-9002, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit www.mhaam.org.