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Fayetteville Museum In Search Of Military Memorabilia

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FAYETTEVILLE — More than 3,000 items have been donated to the new Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville. The collection is intended to cover all airborne units since 1940, but items from one war remain secret treasures.

Mary Dennings' job is to keep track of hundreds of pieces of history.

All of the items have been donated to the new museum, but there is something missing. So far, just a few items have been collected from the Korean War.

"A lot of stuff we could go out and buy, but when we buy it, there's no story behind it," Dennings says. "If a veteran comes in, we'll ask him where he was stationed, what unit, how did they come about it, then it becomes a real part of history."

She hopes to find pictures, uniforms and captured enemy equipment to fill an exhibit that will go in the new museum.

John Aarsen, museum curator, says the search is proving difficult. Many still call Korea, the forgotten war.

"It's difficult to find the objects," Aarsen says. "Some people think they are World War II when they are actually Korean, or they think they are early Vietnam and they are actually Korean War objects."

The opening of the $23 million downtown site was postponed for three months to make sure all of the exhibits and video productions were finished.

As the new date draws near, there is a sense of urgency to find permanent Korean War items for display and even temporary ones for a commemoration of the war's 50th anniversary.

"We want veterans to feel good about the contributions they made to our freedom," Dennings says.

The grand opening is scheduled for August 16, which is National Airborne Day.

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Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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