Gulf War Exhibit to be Held at the Welcome Center
A traveling exhibit called The First Gulf War: The War to Free Kuwait will open Monday, November 6, 2017, at the George P. Lane Welcome Center inside the Pinehurst Theater Building located at 90 Cherokee Road. The exhibit will open during the 2017 Sandhills Veterans Festival, an annual event with the mission of supporting and honoring local troops and veterans. The Government of the State of Kuwait funded the exhibit to honor the 75,000 men and women, and their units, stationed in North Carolina, who served and sacrificed to liberate Kuwait. Admission is free, and the memorial exhibit will run through November 11, 2017, at the Welcome Center before continuing to embark on its journey across the state.
“This is a way for us to give a callout in our community to the people who lived here and participated during the conflict,” said John Boesch, Commissioner of District 8 for the N.C. Veterans Affairs Commission and one of the original founders of the festival.
The N.C. Museum of History, part of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, and the N.C. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs have partnered to create this informative exhibit.
The First Gulf War features eight informational panels, filled with photographs, recounting the conflict that began when dictator Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990. The resulting conflict became known as the Persian Gulf War of 1990-1991, when the United States led the most diverse coalition of nations in recent history in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm to oust Iraqi forces that had invaded Kuwait. The First Gulf War highlights Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, weapons of the Gulf War, and the liberation of Kuwait.
In addition, the exhibit recognizes numerous units from North Carolina that played important roles in the Persian Gulf War. These range from Fort Bragg to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, along with several National Guard and Reserve facilities. The exhibit’s final panel, titled “The Cost of War,” acknowledges 17 service members from North Carolina who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
The First Gulf War will travel to many Tar Heel sites in a repurposed and customized Chevrolet Suburban from the N.C. Department of Transportation. The vehicle is painted to match the ones used during the liberation of Kuwait. Location stops for the traveling exhibit will occur at the N.C. National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters in Raleigh, Fayetteville Technical Community College and many other sites.
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and the N.C. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs express gratitude to the N.C. Persian Gulf War Memorial Commission and the N.C. Desert Storm Memorial Foundation for their instrumental role in the creation of this memorial exhibit.