Pennsylvanians Lead the Way To Honor Their Veterans

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American Legion Post Commander Jon Peterson (left) and George Turak.

George Turak, life member of The Army Historical Foundation and longtime supporter of the Campaign for the National Museum of the United States Army, has begun a grassroots effort to raise $50,000 to ensure the citizens of his home state of Pennsylvania will be among those honored on the National Army Museum’s Donor Wall.

Turak, an Army veteran, is collaborating with his American Legion Post 405 of Philadelphia to spearhead this mission. A noted Philadelphia art dealer, Turak, and his wife Michelle, also previously donated a Civil War painting, Isaac F. Eaton’s “Battle of Gaines’ Mill,” to the Army Art Collection.

Turak explained that this new grassroots initiative was brought about by his love for Pennsylvania, its Soldiers, and history. He hopes that Pennsylvania will be one of many, if not all, states to support the National Army Museum. “Every state should be represented in the National Army Museum,” remarked Turak. “Every state has contributed to our nation and has Soldiers who have served—it is only right to honor those people and their efforts at this future national landmark.”

Jon Peterson, commander of American Legion Post 405, noted the historical significance of the Benjamin Franklin Post, which is directly descended from the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Post #1 in Philadelphia, Pa.

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Members of American Legion Post 405, Philadelphia, Pa.

Peterson explained, “Our city and our post have a long and distinguished history associated with the defense of our Nation.…Our post membership felt it was imperative that the citizens and veterans of the Commonwealthof Pennsylvania donate to the National Museum of the United States Army to recognize the contributions of Pennsylvania to the defense and strength of the United States.”

At a 2014 Veterans Day ceremony at the Union League of Philadelphia, American Legion Post 405 announced an initial pledge of $50,000 on behalf of the citizens and veterans of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. By tapping into various networks throughout the state, Turak and the American Legion hope to exceed their preliminary goal and raise one dollar for every veteran in Pennsylvania. If successful, their donation would be close to $1,000,000.

“We are very excited about this new initiative taken by George Turak and American Legion Post 405,” said BG Creighton W. Abrams, Jr. (USA-Ret.), Executive Director of The Army Historical Foundation, upon learning of their pledge. “Pennsylvanians are leading the way and we hope they will inspire other states to rally and honor their veterans in the National Army Museum as well.”
To support the “Citizens of Pennsylvania, American Legion Post 405” pledge, or for information on how to start a similar program in your state, contact Beth Schultz Seaman, Director of Grassroots Development, at 703-879-0006 or beth.schultz@armyhistory.org.

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