Origins of the World War II Legacy Foundation
On February 23, 1995, Marianne Mihalyo attended the unveiling and dedication of the National Iwo Jima Memorial on the town line of Newington/New Britain in Connecticut. The significance of that date was that it was the 50th Anniversary of the historic flag raising during the Battle of Iwo Jima. That day had a dramatic impact on her life and shortly after, she began volunteering with members of the Iwo Jima Survivors Association. Marianne began taking photos of all their activities and gained a deep respect and admiration for all they accomplished and all they had been through during WWII. In 2003, Marianne's friend, Gary Roy, joined her at one of their parades. He soon felt the same way about these amazing veterans. From that point forward, it was a partnership in assisting the Survivors with anything they needed.
In 2009, seeing that the Iwo Jima Survivors were in need of someone to assist them with their Mission, Marianne and Gary asked the Survivors what they thought about the idea of forming a group of volunteers to help them accomplish what they wanted to do. The Survivors embraced the idea and so began the volunteer group called Support Our Survivors of Iwo Jima (SOS). Soon SOS was assisting the Survivors in many new activities and events which they wanted to do but could not completely physically do themselves. Some of the new activities happening were the Iwo Jima Survivors Victory Ride, Flag Day Open House and VJ Day Candlelight Ceremony of Remembrance.
Another goal of the Iwo Jima Survivors was to erect a museum on the grounds of the National Iwo Jima Memorial. As time went on, very little was raised by others to make this a reality. As time went on, the cost of doing the project went increased. It soon became apparent that it would not be feasible to pursue the idea.
Gary Roy came up with the idea of building a traveling museum which would be less costly. Gary and Marianne pondered the plans for a few years constantly fine tuning details and plans. Urgency was the priority as the Iwo Jima Survivors were advancing in age. This urgency lead to them funding the project almost completely themselves, with some help from caring friends. The completed museum was unveiled for the first time in May 2017.
Collaboration of our Common Mission Leads One Parent Organization
After many years of collaboration between the Iwo Jima Survivors Association, Inc., Support Our Survivors of Iwo Jima and the Iwo Jima / World War II Museum, it was decided to officially join forces for one Organization. At this point, they had also included other World War II Veterans, in addition to the Iwo Jima Survivors, in all activities and event to honor Veteran of the "Greatest Generation". Our peer connections and group of volunteers had grown to include many talented people whose own work, we had admired. It also became apparent that something had to be done financially in order to be able to move from being self-funded to being able to raise funds to pursue these goals long into the future. There was never a shortage of ideas to Honor and Remember the men and women who served in World War II and the Homefront. What was needed help in order to do this.
The decision was made to form one group that joined these three major organizations since all their goals were the same. .It was to be called the WORLD WAR II LEGACY FOUNDATION. It is done with the approval and guidance of the Iwo Jima Survivors who inspired us every day to keep on doing what we do. to do waht we do. ategories of he idea 2022, after many years of collaborating with the same mission and goals, the Iwo Jima Survivors Association, Inc., the Support Our Survivors of Iwo Jima and the Iwo Jima / World War II Museum formed a partnership under the approval of the Iwo Jima Survivors Association, Inc. This partnership is called the World War II Legacy Foundation. The Foundation has applied for 501c(3) non-profit status.
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