Tuesday, November 22, 2005

November 16, 2005

Dear Friend and Supporter of AIMM,

If you think back to your American History class, you may recall the story of the Pilgrims. They initially left England and went to Holland. When they left for the New World in 1620, the Mayflower housed two groups -- the Saints and the Strangers. The two groups had difficulties and ultimately wrote the Mayflower Compact to create a way to get along. In 1621, with the help of their Native American neighbors, they celebrated the bounty of their harvest -- the first Thanksgiving. However, it was not until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed an annual national holiday. President Franklin Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving back a week to create a longer season for Christmas shopping. This was unpopular and inspired Congress to permanently set the date on the fourth Thursday of November.

This story is retold to remind you that, as a supporter of the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum, you have been at the very beginning of establishing a wonderful, growing, dynamic museum. AIMM will be telling the story of our American Heritage for many years to come because of your support and interest. But like the Pilgrim's journey and first winter, the start up of the museum has had unforeseen difficulties and inspiring moments. You are a part of it all and we are so very thankful for all you have done.

In the spirit of the season, AIMM is saying we realize you have given us much and we all have a great deal for which to be thankful. The USS Razorback is already sharing her story with visitors and students. The average attendance has been about 165 visitors each day she is open. We wish you could see the eyes of the children as they descend into the submarine for the first time. It is almost as meaningful as the eyes of submarine veterans who have not seen their boat for many years. Your continued support makes all of this possible.

The USS Razorback has been only slightly moved, as progress on the permanent mooring is made. The mooring work will enable AIMM to accommodate both the USS Razorback and the USS Hoga safely and securely. This portion of the project began with an estimate of almost 1 million dollars to reach completion. Every cost saving measure is being utilized, and the Razorback Base veterans continue volunteering an astounding number of hours as skilled labor.

The Beacon of Peace and Hope is moving forward with its planning efforts. This symbol will enable all of us to come together on the banks of the Arkansas River and pause to reflect on the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom and how important it is to tell these stories to future generations.

Like the history of Thanksgiving, there are going to be many changes along the way, but we could never have gotten this far without you. We're thankful.

The first exhibit spaces are now open to the public and enhance the stories with artifacts that make this history come alive for the visitors. Your continued support will in large measure determine how quickly the exhibits can be expanded and enhanced.

We thank you for all you have done. The visitors to AIMM are thankful for your support and commitment. Together we can all look forward to many exciting events, exhibits and continued development as long as we all work together.

We hope that you and yours have an excellent Thanksgiving and holiday season. We wish you the very best and trust that the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum will continue to be as important to you in the future as you have already demonstrated.

If possible, come visit and see our progress firsthand. As you plan your end-of-the-year giving, keep us in mind.

Greg Zonner
Executive Director

Click here, to make a donation.


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