Hometown Patriot: Oct. 31, 2012 - Velmer Smith

October 31, 2012 - Velmer Smith
Velmer Smith
Velmer Smith
Historic War Memorial Civic Center in DeRidder
Historic War Memorial Civic Center in DeRidder

This year's annual Veterans Day observance in Beauregard Parish will take on a special significance with the unveiling of a new exhibition at the historic War Memorial Civic Center in DeRidder.

Local historian Velmer Smith is donating her "War Room" collection, which contains many impressive artifacts from World War II.

"Each item has a story to tell," said Smith. "I could have sold the items on Ebay and made a fabulous sum of money. But I did not want to break the collection up. I've spent years putting it together. I wanted the collection to stay in DeRidder."

One impressive piece is a Norden bomb sight used in bomber planes during war.

"It was like a mini computer and was able to ... it was very effective in their bombing runs. It was so accurate that it was said that it could hit a pickle barrel from 10,000 feet."

There's also a display of the Buchenwald concentration camp and a photograph assemblage of the 1941 Louisiana Maneuvers.

"I'm hoping this will benefit in future history lessons and maybe motivate younger people to investigate or study more about the impact of war and some of the horrible dictators that we have defeated."

"I love to teach history, so therefore, it means a whole lot to me and my family," said Sue Rich, director of the Civic Center. "Most of my family were military."

And now thanks to Smith, this historic building will further commemorate the lives of those who defended our freedom.

The ceremony takes place Friday, Nov. 9 at 10 a.m. at the War Memorial Civic Center in DeRidder.  All veterans are invited to attend.

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