Gold Star Family Candlelight Vigil

During Memorial Day weekend, we honor our Gold Star families who have lost a loved one in service to our country with a Candlelight Vigil.  

The Gold Star Family Candlelight Vigil procession will begin on the Museum rooftop and travel down to the Soldiers Cross in Memorial Grove. 

More information, including the link to register, will be released soon. Be the first to know about Memorial Day week events by subscribing to our emails.

NVMM Reads: “America’s White Table”

Listen to this reading of “America’s White Table” by the Columbus Metropolitan Library and join us in honoring the sacrifice made by American prisoners of war and those who remain missing in action. Margot Theis Raven’s heartfelt story of a young girl learning about her uncle’s experience as a POW during the Vietnam War reveals the meaning behind the white table that can be found in the dining halls of the Armed Forces across the nation. Rather than basing the story on one Veteran’s experience, the author instead chose to compile different service members’ acts of heroism during the war to represent all branches of the military.

Extend Your Learning:

Ask questions about this story.

  • What does each item on the table represent?
  • What would you add to the table to honor the brave men and women who have served our country?
  • Can you think of other symbols that you see in your everyday life? What do certain objects mean to you?
  • Why is is important to remember and honor the Americans who were prisoners of war or those who never returned home?
  • Ask a Veteran in your life what the symbolism of the white table means to them.

Visit the National Veterans Memorial and Museum and see what the POW/MIA Table looks like in person. While you’re here, discover stories of service and sacrifice of Veterans from the American Revolution to the present.

Learn more about the POW experience in Vietnam from the firsthand account of Colonel Tom Moe, U.S. Air Force (Retired).

An acrostic poem is a poem where certain letters in each line spell out a specific word or phrase.

Check out this worksheet from Arkansas PBS and try writing your own acrostic poem or draw a picture of a hero in your community.

If you’re one of our central Ohio neighbors, check out the book at your local branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library where the book is widely available! Then come in to the NVMM and learn more about the importance of our POW/MIA Table or any of the other unique Veteran stories that can be found throughout American history. 

Inspiring Story of Service: Honoring Captain John Hallett

by Lisa Hallett

I lost my husband and best friend in August of 2009.

To the Army, his Soldiers, and his peers, he was Captain John Hallett. To me, he was the red-headed guy I’ve known since kindergarten. In high school, after we took a mission trip to Mexico, I confided to my friends that, “…someday I was going to marry John Hallett.”

Someday happened, and military life was a whirlwind. Moving, a deployment to Iraq, a baby born in Georgia, the next in Louisiana, extended training exercises, missed holidays and all too frequent goodbyes. All the normal, but slightly harried adventures that military families carry. In 2009, I was pregnant with our third child as John and his unit deployed to Afghanistan.

Six weeks into the deployment, at my first family readiness meeting, I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Lisa, come with me,” said the rear detachment commander. “Bring your things.”

He led me to a room where two uniformed officers proceeded to read a script: “The Secretary of Defense regrets to inform you that your husband, Capt. John L. Hallett, is believed to have perished in the fires…” As they said the word “believed,” I stopped listening. I had a three-year-old, a one-year-old, and a three-week-old baby who my husband had never met. They had to be wrong.

But they weren’t wrong. John was killed on August 25, 2009, with three other brave soldiers on their way home from delivering medicine to a village experiencing a cholera outbreak.

John – Captain Hallett, my best friend, my husband, our children’s father – was not coming home.

As we began to navigate this broken way forward, my grief frightened the children and threatened to swallow me whole. I realized that I did not want to live a life paralyzed by my heartbreak. I wanted a life inspired, motivated, and driven.

I had relied on running throughout John’s military career and again turned to it, finding the strength and resilience I needed to repair my broken heart. In the middle of this complicated healing, and many miles of running, I worked with a community of military spouses, and together we formed a national not-for-profit, Wear Blue: Run to Remember.

I was choosing to live inspired by John’s life, rather than condemned by his death.

There is an opportunity in every day, every moment, every breath – to see, do and be more. John died in service to others. Honoring his sacrifice is emulating his example – approaching each day with a heart to serve others. As long as we are able, we are going to give back to the community that has given so much to us.

There would be so much that he would miss in the years following his death, but John is present in the world around us. His grin, his determination to always choose the hard right over the easy wrong, his fastidious attention to detail, his tireless work ethic, his enthusiastic commitment to his family and friends… are all embodied in his children. And, each time someone speaks his name, learns his story, and chooses to live a little bit bigger, a little bit kinder, a little bit braver, John lives.

Lisa Hallett is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Wear Blue: Run to Remember, a global community that honors the service and sacrifice of the American military through active remembrance. From its tribute Wear Blue Mile to its Gold Star Youth Mentorship Program to Saturday Run communities around the world, Wear Blue empowers families of the fallen, supports the military and honors the fallen.

 Photo courtesy Ingrid Barrentine

Join Wear Blue this Memorial Day to honor our nation’s fallen military heroes by visiting and committing to purposeful remembrance. Wear Blue will provide the name of a fallen service member for you to honor with your steps. Join us in ensuring that the 65,502 service members who have given their lives since the Vietnam War, are honored and remembered in their peers’ lifetime.

WEDS-SUN 10 A.M. - 5 P.M.
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The NVMM is Open on MLK Day!

$1 Admission on Jan. 16 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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