Speaking of moving, where are we moving to?
Who tells the stories of America’s military family better than America’s military families?
In 2014 the Museum of the American Military Family and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History will present a long-term exhibit telling the little-known history of America’s steadfast heroes –its military families.
The exhibit will explore common themes from over seven decades of military family history through the words and voices of America’s military families. This exhibit will explore the concepts of identity, pride, “making do” and sacrifice through written word, hands-on exhibits and interactive elements.
With America’s rich military history and many families currently in military service, this exhibit speaks volumes to so many people. It honors and celebrates soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, as well as the thousands of under-recognized people who stand alongside their service member–proud and supportive.
It is important for people to recognize these elements of service and appreciate the unique military family cultures and subcultures.
Through this exhibit, the community can see history through a different filter, relive their own military roots, open dialogue between generations, and leave with a deeper appreciation of what it means to serve as a military family.
This is an opportunity for visitors to experience a unique part of history, their history, in many cases — their complete story–the joy and pain, the sorrow, and the sacrifice.
Few institutions are talking about the military family, so it is a great pleasure for the Museum of the American Military Family and the National Nuclear Museum of Science and history to partner together to bring this provocative and unique exhibit to the public.
If you’d like to help MAMF create this exhibit, please click here to donate…We really do appreciate your support.
Subject: Military Family Fair – August 10, 2013
At Word of Life Church we appreciate the sacrifices of service members and their families.
We are blessed to have active and retired military and their families as members, friends and partners of our church. On August 10th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., we will have a community outreach to recognize and support military families by holding our first Military Family Fair at 11675 Pratt Avenue.
This Military Family Fair will include:
· A representative from The Museum of the American Military Family
· An opportunity to submit items to the museum repository
(stories, letters, documents, and photos of military members throughout our nation’s history.)
o Information on their LearningCenter and other resources
o An inspiring Flat Stanley/Stella Project for children/youth
· Merchants/businesses with special programs, products and financing for military
· Organizations in the community with programs, resources and ministries to help military families face life’s everyday challenges
· Live entertainment, face painting
· Drawings for prizes
The fair is open to all military families and admission is free. We encourage you to participate in this fair and help make it a very great event for the El Paso community’s military families. Also, feel free to copy and distribute the attached flyer
Pastor Julie Clements is our contact for the fair and can be reached at (915) 383-0875 for any questions and to reserve a table/display area for your organization.
by Allen Dale Olson
As the Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center begins its third year of operations, it is fitting to review our Mission and Vision to assure that we are indeed bringing “together people with shared experiences showcasing and honoring those who also served – American Military Families.”
We learned from a report of the National Security Council just two years ago this month, that less than one percent of Americans serve in uniform today, but they bear 100 percent of the burden of defending our nation. More than 2.2 million service members make up the all-volunteer force in the active, National Guard, and Reserve Components, and more than two million troops have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than half the force is married, and almost 40% of them have at least two children. Only 37% of their families live on military installations, which means that more than 60% of all military families live in over 4,000 communities nationwide.
Combat injuries, multiple deployments, and reintegration of returning veterans all have serious effects on these families and on the communities in which they live. These effects prompted the President to direct the National Security Staff to develop a coordinated Federal Government-wide approach to supporting military families and the First Lady to call on the public to find ways to support and engage military family members.
Our Museum serves as a forum for the spouses, children, parents, grandparents, and others who have loved and supported a member of the military. We collect and preserve the stories of people who have lost loved ones to military service and who minister to the special needs of wounded and troubled veterans. We call attention to the spouses and children who give up or change careers and who move to a different school every two, three, or four years. We provide a resource for family members seeking information and/or comfort from the experiences of others.
In short, our Museum fills an important void; no other museum or organization focuses exclusively on the challenges and achievements of the military family. We want the general public to understand that behind every man or woman in uniform, there are unrecognized people behind them – wives and mothers, fathers and husbands, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.
Our Mission and Vision are on target.
Please join us. Download your own template and join us in celebrating the American Military Family! Our Flat Stanley/Flat Stella site can be accessed here
Growing out of a small-town school event in California, Women’s History Month (March) is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society. The United States has observed it annually throughout the month of March since 1987. www.history.com
At the museum, we started March off by celebrating the accomplishments of women by attending the annual Tribute to Women in the Military at Kirtland Air Force Base, designing and creating aprons to hang at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in 2013 Apron Project installation, and partnering with local and national organizations to screen the film, Service: When Women Come Marching Home at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History.
I would say that I have been a member of the military community since 1990. I was six years old at the time and my mother had accepted a job working as a DOD civilian at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. Flash forward twenty –two years (ok you can do the math, I’m 28!) and here I sit in military quarters on Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.
I grew up amongst other children whose parents served in the military. I, never being exposed to military terms and titles, had no idea what the difference between varying ranks were. Being that my family was labeled “civilian” on a military base, we were always the family to be left behind while others moved on to new assignments. However, we did our fair share of moves, the most notable being to The Netherlands when I was eight years old. I can remember running along the canals of Holland as small child and speaking in broken Dutch when trying to purchase Gouda cheese. Another significant move in my childhood was when we relocated to Belgium, where my mother worked on the NATO base. It was there that I spent the remainder of my childhood, where I grew up in essence, living in the company of Belgian neighbors with their fabulous frites and waffles. I also met my husband while attending high school there. Read the rest of this entry »
WORKSHOP FOR MILITARY PARENTS & CHILDREN
November 10, 2012
The Museum of the American Military Family and Brats without Borders will present “A Life in Transit: Growing Up Military,” a workshop for military parents and their children, age 12 and up, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Nov. 10 at the Kirtland AFB Chapel. For more information, call Circe Olson Woessner, executive director of the Museum of the American Military Family, at (505) 504-6830.
Another session of this workshop will be at Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center, Albuquerque at 1:45-3:00 November 10th.
BRATS, OUR JOURNEY HOME
November 11, 2012
In recognition of this national holiday honoring military veterans, the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History will be offering screenings of the film “Brats: Our Journey Home” on Sunday, November 11, at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., with a visit by filmmaker Donna Musil between the two showings. All service members, past and present, who show military identification will receive free admission. This day is co-hosted by http://www.museumoftheamericanmilitaryfamily.org/ 601 Eubank SE; 505-245-2137; http://www.nuclearmuseum.org
Over the past few months, we’ve introduced you to our board members. This month, meet Circe Olson Woessner, Executive Director.
Circe Olson was born in Evreux, France to American parents teaching at the US School on Dreux Air Force Base. When she was four, her parents moved to Karlsruhe, Germany, where her mother, Joan, got a job teaching first grade and her father, Allen, worked for the Directorate USDESEA.
Circe learned from her friends what it meant to be a military child, “Although I never physically moved, my friends did, and so I was always saying goodbye to someone—and as their dads continued trough their assignments, I welcomed my same friends back three or four years later. Many of my friends had German moms, and their dads came back to Germany so they could be close to their mom’s families for a tour. So I’d catch up with my elementary friends in junior high and then in late high school.”
That must have been foreshadowing …
“I met my husband, Bill, while attending the University of Maryland, Munich Campus, and we married at the end of our sophomore year. Our wedding was a curious blending of cultures and customs. Our invitations were in three languages to reflect the nationalities of our guests, and our wedding celebrations were in two countries. We had our civil wedding in Karlsruhe (Germany) and the church wedding was in Wissembourg (France).”
The newlyweds completed their schooling at Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia, and moved out to southern Indiana and started a family.
“Both Bill and I missed Europe,” Circe admits, “And it seemed the only way to get back there was for Bill to join the Army.” So in 1987, Bill shipped off to Basic Training and Officer’s Candidate School, and Circe and their young son, Erik, went to stay with Circe’s parents who were living in Heidelberg, Germany.
Circe and Erik joined Bill at his OCS graduation, and they started their Army Career at Ft. Sill, OK.
“I remember going to classes to learn how to be a good officer’s wife—how to host a tea, dress properly and be a good support for my husband. It was so strange for me at the time—especially since I didn’t really like to do any of the things that I was told officers’ wives ‘do’.”
There was also a learning curve. “Once, I parked in a ‘General Officers’ parking space. I figured that as a 2LT, Bill was about the most general of all the officers—it wasn’t like he was anything important…” She was soon told of her error and after that stayed clear of the prime parking spots.
The Woessners soon moved back to Germany, to the 3/11 ACR based in Bad Hersfeld, near the East German border. It was a hard but great tour. The troops were in the field 280 days of the year, but the Cav wives were a tough and resilient bunch.
Circe and her neighbor, Laura, would pack up their kids-Laura had two girls—and they’d explore the back roads and small towns around Hessen. It was a great experience for all.
The Iron Curtain crumbled in 1989 and East Germans streamed across the border. “It was great to be part of history,” Circe recalls. “I taught English to eastern European immigrants, and at the same time, did some PR work—undoing years of Soviet brainwashing about how horrible Americans were.”
After Germany, the Woessners—now with baby Iain—moved to Redstone Arsenal (AL), Ft. Jackson (SC) and Ft. Buchanan, Puerto Rico.
“Up until Puerto Rico, I had never had a full-time job. I’d worked as a substitute teacher or part-time for the youth center or library on post, but I finally got a job teaching for the Defense Department school on Roosevelt Roads Naval Station.”
Life in the tropics was interesting—the Woessners survived hurricanes—one of which, Georges—left them without power, water or phone for six weeks, a bout of denge fever, and wild lizards and huge spiders roaming through the house.
“Puerto Rico was great-we went snorkeling and scuba diving, we bought a condo on the beach and a motor boat. We cruised to all the islands and we loved the island life.”
Bill got transferred to the Washington DC area, and the family enjoyed living in southern Maryland, soaking in US history and enjoying the Chesapeake Bay.
In 2001,The family moved to Kirtland Air Force Base where Bill assumed command of the 21st EOD detachment. Circe got a job with the Department of Air Force (thanks, in part, to Spouse Preference). Bill declared that he was done moving—New Mexico was THE Place to retire.
In 2008, son Erik, followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Army and within a year, shipped off to Iraq.
“It was while he was overseas, I got the idea to start the Museum of the American Military Family. It’s a lifestyle, a calling –service, actually–that is hard to describe and for non-military people to understand. Military families are a unique, proud group and their stories should be told. Because in reality—Service members and their families serve together.”