About Veterans Day
Originally celebrated as Armistice Day, Veterans Day was signed into law on June 1, 1954. Every Veterans Day, communities around the country honor living veterans of wartime and peacetime, and share their admiration and gratitude with the men and women who answered the call during the most trying times of American history.
Wars don’t always end after victory is declared. For those who survive combat, the memories can remain vivid for years afterward. That fact is voiced poignantly in the oral histories The National WWII Museum’s historians have gathered from veterans of the Battle of Peleliu—featured here and in the Special Exhibit Tom Lea: LIFE and World War II, on view at the Museum in New Orleans until January 1, 2017. Lea documented World War II in the paintings he produced for LIFE magazine during the war years, including Peleliu in the Pacific with US Marines. In its June 11, 1945, issue, LIFE devoted seven pages to Lea’s stark, visceral images of the Battle of Peleliu.
Veterans Day is a day to thank all our military veterans for the freedoms Americans enjoy. The National WWII Museum has scheduled events to honor these brave men and women from every branch of service. All of our Veterans Day programs are free to the public, and Museum admission is free to any veteran on Veterans Day as well as to WWII veterans year-round.
I’m not going to ‘interpret’ that war with my painting. I am trying to paint precisely and exactly and absolutely truly what I saw with my own two eyes. Nothing else. These are to be literal pictures, to be taken literally. Few painters have ever seen such things, and certainly none I know of has painted them.