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Bong Historical Center Celebrates 15 Years

Center Director Hopes To Expand Collection, Exhibits Honoring Veterans

Richard I. Bong Historical Center
Marcus White/WPR

The Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center is celebrating its 15th anniversary on Thursday.

Bong Historical Center executive director Hayes Scriven said the museum was built in 2002 to preserve and honor Bong’s memory and World War II veterans. He said lately they’ve been gathering stories to honor all veterans in the Northland.

“We want to be able to capture as many veterans’ stories as possible. Specifically, we have been working with some local outlets here on capturing some Vietnam veterans’ stories,” he said. “Then, we collect artifacts and objects and paper memorabilia, photos of veterans.”

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Scriven said there are more than 4,000 veterans in Douglas County. He said he hopes people will understand and appreciate the different experiences of those who serve in the military.

“Nobody else is going to experience what they experienced. For the general public to come to a place like this and read these stories or hear these stories is a very powerful thing for them because they will never be able to experience anything like a certain veteran experienced in Vietnam,” he said. “For them to understand what they went through and what they were thinking, we hope they will come away with a better appreciation of what these veterans have been through serving in our military.”

Scriven said in the coming years they want to focus more on community-centered events and social gatherings in the community. He said they’re also working on expanding their educational outreach to students in the area.

The center’s anniversary celebration is free and open to the public. The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday.