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“It’s not the guns and knives and everything else.” For example, amid a display about bombers is the story Regine Lheridaut, a women who worked in the French resistance during the war and assisted hundreds of U. and British airmen evade capture after being shot down. He did, and the B-17 co-pilot, Ralph Patton, was still alive, more than a half-century later.

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They’d say, ‘He never talked about it.’” The emotional connection veterans and their families felt with the tour led to their continual donation of artifacts that have built the museum into the sprawling affair it is today, all housed in Honolulu’s warehouse district in a building that long ago was a horse stable.Much of it is “touch-feely,” as Tomlinson describes it, where anyone call crawl into a vintage jeep, straddle an Army-issued Harley motorcycle or man a machine gun. “An experiential museum.” But changing demographics have been the museum’s enemy.Tomlinson recalled 6,000 Pearl Harbor attack survivors taking the tour in 1991.He called it “my final Hail Mary pass” to “call out to America to help us keep the museum alive for our children and generations to come.” If enthusiasm alone could keep the museum running, then Tomlinson’s disposition would keep the doors wide open.During the tour he could barely contain himself as he weaved tales, moving from item to item, sometimes leaving an anecdote unfinished as another artifact caught his eye.

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