Robert Edsel's Blog

Archive for December, 2010


December 14th, 2010 | 1:40 pm

"In the Footsteps of the Monuments Men" Tour

In 2011, The National World War II Museum’s Five Star Tours will join with Robert M. Edsel, author of best-selling The Monuments Men and Founder and President of the Monuments Men Foundation, to offer a tour in search of a different kind of war hero: the Monuments Men – scholar soldiers who raced to save civilization’s treasures from destruction by the Nazis in the chaotic final days of World War II.

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From the Desk of Robert M. Edsel

The close of another year brings with it blessings for the progress and events of 2010. No development brings greater long term promise than the ongoing relationship between the Monuments Men Foundation and The National World War II Museum. The museum is a national treasure, with more than a half million visitors annually and growing by leaps and bounds. Nothing affirms the importance of these heroes and their legacy more than the endorsement and support of The National World War II Museum.

With the growth in our activity, we have made the decision to create quarterly newletters in 2011 to share with our many supporters and friends the latest developments, discoveries, and achievements of the Foundation. Of course, I’m always available to answer any questions. I love hearing from you, please call me any time.

I wish each of you the happies of holidays and New Year!

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December 8th, 2010 | 3:21 pm

I’ve written many times before about the brave American men and women in uniform who are preserving our freedom. As we are fond of saying at the Monuments Men Foundation and the National World War ll Museum, “freedom is NOT free”. These brave soldiers, our guardians, risk their lives every day, many in faraway places. The amount of time I spend in airports around the country is a constant visual reminder as I regularly see all too many of our troops, headed home for leave, or back overseas for another tour of duty.

Yesterday one of my dearest friend’s senior nurse told me a story that had me in tears. Her son is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan as part of a  high risk operational team. Earlier this year, while waiting to greet her son at the airport, her eight year old daughter saw a group of soldiers in uniform preparing to board a flight. The young girl walked up to them, smiled, and asked, “Are you in the army with my brother?” The soldiers returned the smile and asked her the name of her brother. She responded, “my brother’s name is Jason; do you know him?”

It’s a small story, but one that is deeply personal for this family; it is another reminder of the impact military service has on families whose brave sons and daughters are serving our nation and preserving for those of us at home the values and way of life we cherish most. To our veterans everywhere, and all those in military service, thank you for your service to our nation! We DO appreciate your sacrifice!

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December 7th, 2010 | 9:07 am

We set aside two days a year to honor our Veterans: Memorial Day and Veterans Day. But other days of the year border on such importance…today is one of them. More than 2,400 men and women were killed on this date 69 years ago as they innocently went about their duty and lives that Sunday morning. It was a dastardly act by Japan and it’s warlords as they sought to knock out the Pacific fleet of the United States in one swift blow. Within days the United States was at war with Japan and its allies, Nazi Germany and Italy. World War II had begun in earnest.

Less than three weeks later a meeting would take place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City that would have far reaching implications.Visionary leaders such as George Stout, Paul Sachs, and Francis Henry Taylor, expressed concern about protecting this country’s cultural treasures from concerns about a Japanese invasion of the west coast and Nazi bombings on the east coast. In time these specific fears subsided but were replaced with an even greater concern: how to protect the cultural treasures of the western world from the path of war that inevitably would lead to the doors of the Reichschancellery in Berlin.

Fortunately we live in a world today that was spared the “what if” consequences of the Monuments Men never having been created.We can visit the world’s great museums and see the vast majority of the greatest accomplishments of man’s creative genius because of their vision and sacrifices. Pearl Harbor set them into motion.

So on this day, let us remember the brave men and women who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor. May we also acknowledge those who acted and set in motion one of the most benevolent efforts in the history of mankind, an effort that preserved much of the accumulated art, music, and culture produced by thousands of years of civilization, from the path of war: the Monuments Men and women.

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December 3rd, 2010 | 11:57 am

These are pictures I took during my visit to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Even after visiting this museum many times, there is always something new to see or experience. I highly recommend anyone that is visiting New Orleans to visit this museum, you will not be disappointed.

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