Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum is proud to be collecting summer clothing and interview clothing for the community of veterans experiencing homelessness served by Shepherd’s Heart Fellowship & Veterans Home.
Suggested clothing of interest includes pants, shorts, T-shirts, light jackets, shoes, unused socks and underclothes. Unopened toiletries will also be collected.
Collections will be accepted through the summer months, Monday – Friday 8am – 3pm Please note that masks are encouraged to be worn covering your mouth and nose while inside the building if you are vaccinated, and masks are required to be worn by those not fully vaccinated.
“The Purple Heart”
The Purple Heart is one of the best-known military decorations. Established shortly after World War I, the medal is awarded to those who are wounded or killed in action against an enemy while serving in the United States military. In this interactive class, we’ll learn all about the history of the Purple Heart and hear stories from the Soldiers & Sailors collection about individual recipients. We’ll also play a game of “Fact or fiction?” that will test your knowledge of this award.
Twenty years ago, on September 11, 2001, the United States came under attack.
In response, 181,510 Americans enlisted for active duty service, and 72,908 joined
the reserves in the year following Sept. 11.
Out of that fateful day emerged a new generation of Americans ready and prepared to
serve and defend their country and their fellow Americans, no matter the risk. Many paid
the ultimate price to help ensure such a horrific attack on the United States never
The mission of Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum is to serve as a lasting tribute
to those men and women who unselfishly gave of themselves in service to their country.
This somber 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Soldiers & Sailors will
recognize those service members with an installation of 7,053 dog tags suspended
between the light posts across the walkway leading to the building for visitors to
pass under. Each dog tag represents an individual life lost in the conflicts since
September 11, 2001. Included are 300 special flag dog tags specifically representing each
individual service member from Pennsylvania.
To formally observe the solemn occasion “Taps” will be sounded at dusk on
September 11, 2021.
The building will be closed at this time.
The open-air memorial is free to visit and open 24 hours a day through September 30th.
Witness chivalry in the making as 3 WWII Veterans are to be formally presented France’s Highest Honor, the Legion d’honneur, on September 2nd, 2021, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, beginning at 1PM. This extraordinary event is open to the public yet seating is limited. French Consul General, François Penguilly, of the French Embassy and Consulate in Washington D.C., will be decorating these fine men within the beautiful and spacious Auditorium within the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall.
The Honored Veterans are:
Wally King – 1st Lt. Wallace N. King earned 4 Campaign Stars serving as a Fighter Pilot flying a P-47 Thunderbolt. In September of 1944, 1st Lt. King arrived in France trained as a P-51 Pilot, flew one orientation flight in the P-47, then spent the rest of his war flying “The Jug”. Employing the P-47 in the ground support role, as a pilot in the 513th Fighter Squadron, 406th Fighter Group, the group’s objective was to provide soldiers on the ground a rapid strike capability from the air. The squadron concentrated on bombing and strafing enemy troop concentrations, armored vehicles, fixed and mobile gun emplacements, and rail-head marshaling yards. On his 75th mission, on the 18th of April of 1945, Lt. King was shot down by enemy anti aircraft artillery and briefly fell into captivity. Mr. King is 97.
Guy Prestia – Following basic training, Sergeant Guy Prestia was assigned to Company E of the 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, in May of 1943. In combat Guy carried the Browning automatic rifle that weighed in at nearly 21 pounds. After first arriving in North Africa in 1943, he fought throughout the Italian Campaigns landing in Sicily, then Salerno, Anzio, Rome, the invasion of Southern France, the French eastern frontier and into the heart of Germany. The 45th Infantry Division spent an incredible 511 days in combat. At the end of the war, Guy took part in the liberation of the Dachau Concentration Camp outside of Munich Germany. Mr. Prestia is 99.
Fran Turner – Major Francis C. Turner entered the service as an enlisted man prior to America entering WWII. Following America’s entry, Corporal Turner entered and then completed Officers Candidate School in August of 1942. Assigned to D Company of the 17th Armored Engineers Battalion, Lt. Turner took part in the landing at Rabat Morocco then advanced into Algeria in 1943. After the African campaign concluded, Lt. Turner arrived in Tidworth England to prepare for the Invasion of Normandy. The task of the battalion was to sweep for mines ahead of the infantry and establish a clear a path for armored vehicles, all under fire. Once in France, he was assigned to Company A of the 17th Armored Engineers Battalion, 2nd Armored Division, where he participated in combat operations during the Normandy Invasion and throughout Northern France. As the war progressed, Lt. Turner entered Belgium, Holland, took part in the Ardennes Offensive also known as the Battle of the Bulge, and then crossed the Rhine River at Wessel Germany. Lt. Turner was awarded the Silver Star for ‘Extraordinary Heroism’ and a Bronze Star for Valor. Following his service in WWII, Lt. Turner joined the U.S. Army Reserves and retired as a Major in 1979; serving his country for 38 years. Mr. Turner is 102.
In addition to an address by the Consul General and the veterans being decorated, the ceremony will also feature remarks by Madame Françoise Crozet, who will convey the love and respect that the citizens of France have for their liberators, and then, an address from Brigadier General (Retired) David Papak, USMC, highlighting the ongoing mission of our Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
September 2nd, 1945… As we reflect upon this medal ceremony in 2021, we must remember that 76 years ago to this very day, that on the deck of the USS Missouri, in 1945, the final surrender ending World War Two took place. What better way to celebrate Liberty and Freedom then to honor 3 gallant men who did their part in securing those most sought after ideals…
Admission is free.
Spotlight On: The Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
September 9, 2021 7PM – Virtual Event
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, located in Arlington National Cemetery. This program will examine the origins, history and true meaning of the Tomb. Also highlighted will be the Society of the Honor Guard, a non-profit organization created by Tomb Guards, who are committed to protecting and enhancing the welfare and image of the Tomb. This month’s special guest will be retired Tomb Guard Dennis J. McMahon III, Badge #320, Frist Sergeant, US Army (Ret). Please join us as we learn about and pay tribute to one hundred years of sacrifice.
Dennis J. McMahon III
First Sergeant, US Army (Ret)
Dennis J. McMahon III was born in Syracuse, New York and raised in Moon TWP, PA. He enlisted in the Army in April 1984 as an 11B, Infantryman and attended Basic and AIT at Fort Benning, Georgia.
McMahon’s first assignment was with the Old Guard, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, Fort Myer, VA. He served with the First Presidential Marching platoon performing ceremonies at the White House and throughout the Capitol region, including the 1985 Presidential Inauguration Parade. He then volunteered and was selected to be a Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Arlington National Cemetery. Following his 18-month assignment to the Tomb, 1SG McMahon earned the Tomb Guard Identification badge (badge # 320). This badge is the second least awarded badge in the military, following the Army Astronaut Badge.
In 1988, he reclassified as a 97B, Counterintelligence (CI) Special Agent. His multiple worldwide assignments were from Germany, to Saudi Arabia, Japan, Korea and multiple state-side assignments. Dennis retired in September 2004 as a First Sergeant.
McMahon’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Award, the Meritorious Unit Citation, the Army Superior Award (with numeral 2), the Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal (with star), Korean Defense Service Medal, South West Asia Service Medal (w/3 bronze stars), the Saudi Arabia/Kuwait Liberation Medals, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. McMahon has been awarded the following badges: Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Identification Badge (#320), Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Air Assault Badge, and the German Schutzensnier (Bronze award). He has also been inducted in the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club and is a recipient of the Military Intelligence Corps Knowlton Award.
He has been married to Lisa (Smith) McMahon since 1984 and they have 3 boys: Connor (27), Austin (24) and Evan (23).
Dennis currently works for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in Boyers, PA as a Senior Personnel Security Specialist and they make their home in Coraopolis, PA.
Spotlight On: Beer in the History of War
October 14, 2021 7PM – Virtual Event
The story of beer in war goes back to the Romans and the Huns, if not to the beginnings of war itself. Generals, including George Washington, planned army movements around the delivery of beer rations for the troops. Soldiers have longed for a taste of their local beer as a reminder of their home and normality. Soldiers and sailors have exercised great creativity and daring in their efforts to bring beer to their comrades in arms. Focusing on the Civil War through Afghanistan, this presentation will examine how beer has impacted war and how war has changed beer.
Joe McAllister spent much of his career developing programs and services for not-for-profit organizations. He founded and developed the Autism Center at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, co-founded the Advisory Board On Autism and Related Disorders (ABOARD, aka Autism Connection of PA) and developed the Department of Psychological Services for Watson Institute. McAllister retired from Watson in 2013 to work full time on the development of a national beer museum here in Pittsburgh. Similar in scale to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Brew: The Museum of Beer will be a first-day destination attraction capable of accommodating 400,000+ visitors per year within a 50,000-square-foot complex.
Paul Young is the brewer for BrewDog of Pittsburgh. He graduated from the University of New Orleans in 2005 with a film degree. He has spent his professional career working in documentary film, owning and operating a home beer and wine making supply store and as a professional brewer. He curated the Louisville Brewseum in Louisville, Ky – a mobile exhibit covering 200 years of beer history, and has taught hundreds the joy brewing their own beer. Paul has created and overseen events teaching team building, promoting the importance of support for local business and fundraising. He enjoys traveling, hiking, good beer and food and, especially, learning the ways the lessons of our history shape the present and design the future.
In honor of the 30th anniversary of The Silence of the Lambs’ release, Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum is hosting a movie night on Friday, October 29th.
The film will be shown in its entirety at 7PM with doors opening at 5:30PM to allow time to visit with vendors and see a replica of The Silence of the Lambs cage in the very room the iconic escape scene was shot.
From 5:30pm to 7pm enjoy the following:
Howard Bender of Dynamic Illustrations & Caricatures will create your likeness for $10 in black and white or $20 in color.
Have your tarot cards read by Rev. Danielle Kurtz for a nominal fee.
Joe Steinmetz will be onsite to share the original cage blueprint. What’s believed to be the original cage rug from the movie will be on display courtesy of Ruth Frantz.
The owner of the recently converted property that was used as Buffalo Bill’s House in The Silence of the Lambs will be present to share information about his property and inn. www.buffalobillshouse.com.
For this evening, in accordance with the CDC and Allegheny County’s recommendations regarding indoor gatherings, masks are required to be worn covering the nose and mouth at all times while inside the building. In an abundance of caution, Soldiers & Sailors has also limited the number of tickets being sold to allow for social distancing.
Friends Members receive FREE admission to this event! Learn more about membership here.
The admission fee for entry is $10. Tickets go on sale Friday, October 8th and are required to be purchased online in advance. Cash admission will not be taken at the door.
Closed captioning will be available during the film showing.
Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum is proud to be a drop off location for Toys for Tots this holiday season.
The drop off box will be located in the lobby of Soldiers & Sailors and will be accessible November 5th through December 10th, Monday – Saturday 8am – 3pm with the exception of November 25th and 26th. Please note that masks are encouraged to be worn covering your mouth and nose while inside the building.
Toys must be new and unwrapped. Don’t forget that Toys for Tots collects gifts for children through the age of 18. For FAQs about Toys for Tots please visit the Toys for Tots website.
Thank you for joining with Soldiers & Sailors and Toys for Tots to give back this holiday season!
Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum is proud to be collecting winter outerwear for veterans experiencing homelessness of Shepherd’s Heart Fellowship & Veterans Home.
Suggested winter gear donations include winter coats and scarves with a special emphasis on warm gloves and winter hats.
Collections will be accepted through the winter months, Monday – Saturday 8am – 3pm with the exception of November 25th and 26th, December 24th, 25,th 26th and 31st, January 1st, and February 21st. Please note that masks are recommended to be worn covering your mouth and nose while inside the building.
“What is a Veteran”
Veterans Day is a time to remember and honor those individuals who have served in the United States military. In this live, online class, we’ll learn about the origins and history of Veterans Day, with a special focus on the different decorations for valor that are awarded to our country’s heroes. We’ll also hear stories about these individuals as we put ourselves in their place and ask, “What would I do?”