Local exhibition salutes our soldiers and shares their experiences

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In Palm Beach County, Veteran’s Day is not just for 24 hours. It’s a nearly two-month-long honor instead.

From now until Dec. 7, the West Palm Beach Library Foundation is hosting the first-ever Star Spangled Heroes exhibit at the Mandel Public Library. The free event features exhibits, lectures and films, among other highlights. All programs have specific times and will run in accordance with the library’s hours.

Jim Sugarman, executive director of the WPB Library Foundation, said in an email he hopes to reach well over 5,000 visitors. From this exhibit, he wants visitors to understand how important it is to value the roles veterans played and that the community needs to do more to support them as a community and as a country.

“There is a growing number of veterans in our community, and there is a great opportunity to learn about their experiences and their needs,” he said.

Some of these great opportunities Sugarman believes will be of greater interest to the public include meeting Ralph Morse, a World War II photographer for LIFE; seeing Palm Beach County’s involvement in World War II by viewing a series of photographs; and learning about women in the military when female veterans share their own experiences.

“The more we educate the public about the needs of veterans, the better,” Sugarman said.

The closing day of the exhibition will be a day to commemorate the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In addition to exhibits, lectures, films and the like, the WPB Library Foundation will also have an essay contest for 10th through 12th grade students from Palm Beach County schools and those who are homeschooled in the county.

Students have two options to write about; one is discussing the volunteer system versus the draft, and the other is about coming home. The deadline to submit is Dec. 1. For more information, call the WPB Library Foundation at (561) 822-9972.

This year, honor those who have honored our country for more than just one day in November.

“The library will hopefully serve as a great setting to educate the community about veterans,” Sugarman said. “It seemed like a win-win. A win for the veterans and a win for the library.”

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