FAGEN FIGHTERS WWII MUSEUM: PRESERVING AMERICA'S GREATEST GENERATION
I don’t usually get to spend much time sightseeing in the cities and towns where I perform. A typical tour stop finds me arriving late the night before or early in the morning “day of show” for load in, setup and to prepare for that evening’s concert. My time in each location is limited and before long I am saddled up, on the road and off to my next show.
My July 20 engagement to help support Lee-Mar Ranch Equine Center in Granite Falls, MN was a special treat because I was fortunate to carve out a little time to experience a museum that is preserving history and honoring our country’s real American heroes and the sacrifices they made on our behalf.
Lee-Mar Ranch Equine Center exists so that Granite Falls and the surrounding area have a central facility in which the rural community & equine heritage is celebrated, families, and individuals are nurtured, and community is fostered. They provide affordable, accessible, and effective equine-facilitated activities within an exceptional learning environment that supports individuals with disabilities and children at risk.
After some fun during soundcheck with my new friends from the Little Britches Rodeo (watch video below) and with a few hours to spare before showtime, Lee-Mar’s founder, Jerry Ims acted as my personal tour guide - Destination: Granite Falls Municipal Airport, location of the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum.
Fagen Fighters WWII Museum is home to a pristine collection of fully operational, active aircraft and vehicles from World War II. Also featured are fine art, bronze sculptures, interactive multimedia displays, and an ever-growing library. The facility is designed as a self guided experience, and gives a rare look into the lives and legacy of the Greatest Generation.
THE MISSION: PRESERVE HISTORY. PROMOTE PATRIOTISM. INSPIRE THE FUTURE.
Fagen Fighters WWII Museum is a showcase of some of the most significant aircraft and ground equipment in that epic conflict. Most importantly, it is a tribute to the men and women of The Greatest Generation whose incredible sacrifices during that time shaped the freedom and liberty we enjoy today. Their mission is to preserve the memory of the heroes of WWII, promote patriotism in today’s Americans, and inspire tomorrow’s leaders to study and apply history’s lessons.
My Grandfather, Harry M. Dehner served our country honorably during WWII in the US Army and was part of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord on D-Day, Tuesday, June 6, 1944. Like many from his generation, my Grandpa rarely if ever spoke of his time in the service or of that fateful day. However, by visiting the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum and spending time at the life-sized recreation of one special infantry landing I now have a rare glimpse of what it must have been like for these brave men that risked everything and were prepared to give their lives to save ours.
This feature exhibit depicts bronze sculptures of the 4th Infantry landing at Utah Beach on D-Day. Ray Fagen leads 12 men from the "Ivy" Division onto the 80 foot beach, which is comprised of real sand from the actual landing site in Normandy, France. The scene is completed with a stunning mural of the invasion armada and landing troops.
I look forward to once again visiting this incredible museum and snapshot of history the next time my concert tour passes through the area, and I highly recommend that every man, woman and child in America and from abroad do the same. If you value your freedom and way of life as much as I do the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum in Granite Falls, MN is a must see. Learn more at their website.
SCOTT HELMER is a singer, songwriter, musician and Guinness World Records title holder for "Most Live Music Performances in 24 Hours (multiple cities)."
Since 2012 his special fundraising concerts have helped raise more than $2 Million Dollars for good causes across America ranging from military veterans and their families, equine-assisted therapy, suicide prevention, first responders, pet and animal rescues, food banks, historic places, special needs children and adults, and more.
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