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Press Release
March 16, 2004


National Archives Salutes World War II Veterans

Washington, DC. . . The National Archives will honor veterans of World War II during the dedication of the World War II Memorial on the National Mall by hosting a film festival and a series of symposia, and by displaying the original German Surrender Document. Veterans will also be eligible for a 10% discount at the National Archives Museum Shop. The film festival, symposia, and exhibition are free and open to the public. These activities will be held at the National Archives Building, Constitution Avenue, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW. Hours are 10 AM to 7 PM through Friday, May 28; 10 AM to 9 PM beginning Saturday, May 29 through Labor Day. The National Archives is open every day.

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Document Display
The German Military Surrender signed at Rheims, France on May 7, 1945 will be displayed in the West Rotunda Gallery Friday, May 28 through Monday, May 31. This document was signed by Col. Gen. Alfred Jodl, on behalf of the German High Command, by Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, representing General Eisenhower, and by Maj. Gen. Ivan Sousloparov of the Soviet Union. Maj. Gen. Francois Sevez of France signed as a witness.

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Films
The National Archives, which has the largest World War II audiovisual collection in the world, will be highlighting a sampling of these holdings during the Memorial Day weekend. The films will be shown using a portable video projection system, beginning at 10:30 AM and running continuously until 6 PM Friday, May 28th through Sunday, May 30 in the Jefferson Room. For updated information, the public should call 202-501-5000.

  • The Battle of San Pietro (1945) is an engrossing chronicle of savage fighting between American and German forces for control of the Liri Valley in Italy. Directed, written and narrated by John Huston. (33 minutes.)

  • The Battle of Midway (1942). Written and directed by legendary Hollywood filmmaker John Ford (The Grapes of Wrath, How Green Was My Valley), this is an extraordinary color film that won the 1943 Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject. (18 minutes.)

  • War Comes to America (1945). The seventh and final film in Frank Capra's Why We Fight series of orientation films designed for servicemen, War Comes to America is an overview of American history, with an emphasis on the events that forced us to fight for our survival. (67 minutes.)

  • The Army-Navy Screen Magazine - Highlights (1943-45). Produced by the Army Signal Corps, The Army-Navy Screen Magazine was a bi-weekly news, information, and entertainment short subject that was shown before the feature film in all military motion picture theaters during World War II. This compendium of the Screen Magazine features many of the highlights of episodes from 1943-45. Supervised by Frank Capra. (52 minutes.)

  • World War II: The Homefront. A selection of short incentive films designed to persuade Americans at home to contribute to the war effort. Included will be Inflation starring Edward Arnold, You, John Jones! featuring James Cagney and Margaret O'Brien, and Its Everybody's War narrated by Henry Fonda. (Approximately 60 minutes.)

  • Wings for this Man (1944). This short film (narrated by Ronald Reagan) describes the history and organization of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American-manned fighter squadron. Produced by the Army Air Forces. (10 minutes.)

  • The Negro Soldier (1944). Directed by Frank Capra, this film was produced by the U.S. War Department to demonstrate to black servicemen their particular stake in the fight against the Axis Powers. (42 minutes.)

  • The Memphis Belle (1944). Produced by the Army Air Forces and directed by William Wyler, The Memphis Belle records the final mission over Germany of the flying fortress "Memphis Belle" and her veteran crew. (43 minutes.)

  • Women in World War II. A selection of short films that document the accomplishments of women during the war. Included will be Glamour Girls of 1943, The Hidden Army, and It's Your War, Too! (Approximately 70 minutes.)

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Lectures
Lectures will take place at 10:30 AM, 1 PM and 3 PM, Friday, May 27 and Sunday, May 30 in the Washington Room. The public should enter through the Constitution Avenue entrance. For a complete listing, the public should call 202-501-5000 or visit the Calendar of Events at www.archives.gov.

Presentations by Lt. Colonel Henry Cervantes USAF (Ret.), Air Force historian Dr. Bruce Ashcroft, historians Frederick and Linda Aguirre, and profiles of veterans from Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Corregidor, and the Battle of Okinawa, among others will be featured.

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For press information, contact the National Archives Public affairs staff at 301-837-1700 or 202-501-5526. The public should call the recorded events line for updated information: 202-501-5000.

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