Military heroes remembered in libraries around the state

November 3, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — In conjunction with Veterans Day, service members — past and current — are being honored in libraries across the nation on "Our Heroes Trees."

Decorated with handmade ornaments paying tribute, "Our Heroes Trees" now stand in 150 libraries — 88 in Indiana and the rest military libraries around the globe — thanks to a partnership between the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University and libraries around the globe. A virtual display of ornaments, searchable by name, library, city, county and more is available at http://www.cfs.purdue.edu/mfri/public/oht/virtual-tree.aspx  

"Our Heroes Trees are now in more 43 of 92 Indiana counties, and some libraries are participating for a third year in a row,” said Kathy Broniarczyk, the institute's director of outreach. "Through this program, libraries are able to honor the contributions of past and present service members while also creating an awareness of military families affected by current military deployments. Some donors also contribute stories about individual service members and these also are displayed near the tree."

Area libraries that are participating are located in Frankfort,  Frankfort Public Library;  Colfax-Perry Township, Monon, Wolcot and Delphi. There also will be a Our Heroes Tree as part of the Purdue Student Union Board Veteran's Day event 11 a.m. Nov 11 in Purdue Memorial Union Room 118.

In addition, several libraries are planning programming. Some examples include:

  • Colfax-Perry Township Public Library: 2 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 7): Round table discussion with service members and spouses concerning the effects of deployment on a family. Student veterans will participate in a question and answer session concerning their use of the GI Bill.
  • New Albany-Floyd County Public Library: 7 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 9): Local singing group performing, as well as a service member presenting a slide show of pictures from his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Lebanon Public Library, 2-8 p.m., Nov. 10: Blood drive in honor of Veterans Day
  • Bartholomew County Public Library, 6:30 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 4). Making patriotic beaded jewelry
  • 7 p.m. Monday (Nov. 8): World War II Fighter pilot speaking and sharing about his newly published book, “Fighter Pilot: The World War II Career of Alex Vraciu
  • 6:30 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 11): Sheila Kellar speaking of growing up during a wartime and falling in love with an American G.I.

"Our Heroes Tree" program was co-founded in 2005 by Stephanie Pickup, author of The Soldiers' Tree, and Marlene Lee, author of "The Hero in My Pocket.."  Libraries in 34 states are taking part.

Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Military and Family Research Institute draws much of its support from the Lilly Endowment Inc., which has awarded it more than $14 million since 2007.

Writer:  Writer: Jeanne V. Norberg, 765-494-2084, jnorberg@purdue.edu

Source:  Kathy Broniarczyk, 765-496-6013, kbroniar@purdue.edu