Tour of the U.S. Military Veterans Center Station Three: The Eric D. Hillenburg Museum

Welcome to the Eric D. Hillenburg Museum. At the center of the photo is a monument which summarizes the loss of this Marine in action at Falluja, Iraq. Take note of the date of death inscribed on the face of the monument, then zoom in on the snapshot at the base of the photo. Lance Corporal Hillenburg was killed in action two days before Christmas, 2004. The snapshot is the last known photograph of Corporal Hillenburg and was taken 21 December, 2004.

To the left of the monument is an Information Post. Click on it to open a page of websites that provide more information about Lance Corporal Hillenburg. As we saw at the Memorial Garden, some gave all.

Inside the Museum we have placed historic recruiting posters on display to the left, and military art to the right. As you enter the museum, you will also see a display of our nation’s founding documents, the United States Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence. Nearby is another information post which will open a web page at the National Archives which tells about our nation’s founding documents.

Each member of the United States armed forces swears an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. It is indeed fitting and proper that they should be displayed in view of a monument to a man who upheld his oath with his own life.

Upstairs in the Museum you will find the Charter Members Display, including a photo frame containing five portraits, one for each of our five charter members. These individuals founded the U.S. Military Veteran group as well as the U.S. Military Veterans Center which is the group’s headquarters. You will see their names again inside the Veterans Information and Learning Center at the Information/Help Desk.

As you continue to the right of the Charter Members Display you see an array of photo frames, one for each of the five armed services, containing Second Life portraits of our group members. In addition, a sixth frame has been provided for those group members who wish to contribute photographs of their active duty service. Each individual who qualifies for membership in the U.S. Military Veteran group becomes a part of history in this ground-breaking effort to provide information, support, outreach and services to veterans, active duty service members and their families.

You will also see a rectangular frame off to one side. This frame was created for a real life snapshot that didn’t display correctly in the square frame format. An information post has been provided to give a notecard to those visitors interested in learning more about this veteran, HONDO Slade, who inadvertently set off the chain of events that would result in the construction of the Veterans Center and the creation of the U.S. Military Veteran group in Second Life.

Incredibly, the U.S. Military Veterans Center began with two friends–HONDO Slade, and his companion Asdzaa Oh who created a group so HONDO could wear “U.S. Navy Vet” over his head on a tag. Neither he nor Asdzaa foresaw the cascade of events that would follow this simple act.

When you look at HONDO’s portrait, remember that great things can come of seemingly simple, insignificant acts. As our group membership increases, so does the potential for others to become an exponential influence for the cause of the U.S. Military Veteran. This all started because of one man. And now we number in the hundreds, each making a seemingly small difference.

Consider that our example has confirmed to two of the national Veteran Service Organizations–Disabled American Veterans and The American Legion–that Second Life is a powerful way to reach out to vets. Disabled American Veterans has built and maintains six regions, or sims, in Second Life, featured in the May/June 2008 issue of DAV Magazine.

What if HONDO had not asked Asdzaa to make him the tag? Or if Asdzaa had not immediately set out to learn how to fulfill HONDO’s request to show others in Second Life that he is a veteran? Would Cowboy Wayne have recognized HONDO as a fellow vet and been inspired to build a headquarters for the group? Would the national IT department staff of Disabled American Veterans have discovered the power of Second Life had they not discovered the Veterans Center and the little band of friends–including HONDO who is in real life a member of DAV–who began building it? At the time, these small developments seemed so ordinary, but now have the looks of history, for they are at minimum a part of DAV history, having been briefly mentioned in their national magazine.

Each of you has thus become a part of that history by participating in the U.S. Military Veteran group. And each of you no doubt will someday learn that your supposed insignificant influence in fact made all the difference in the world to someone else. Look around at the Veterans Center…just one example of the result of insignificant actions.


Tour of the U.S. Military Veterans Center Station Two: Chapel and Memorial Garden

Step off the Teleport Landing Pad and head over toward the Chapel (upper right of this photo). The Chapel provides a serene setting for quiet contemplation and reflection. Often, we find the doors have been left ajar, a wordless affirmation that the Chapel has once again provided shelter to someone in need of comfort. Adjacent to the Chapel is the Memorial Garden, which includes a POW flag at half mast and several monuments. This quiet, park-like setting provides a peaceful place for vets, family members of deployed servicemembers, and the bereaved to meet up and privately communicate about their experiences. We recommend using Instant Message (IM) to communicate when discussing personal, confidential, sensitive or emotional topics with one another. At the Memory Garden, take just a moment to look at the monuments. Note that the POW Flag flies over a monument that says “All Gave Some, Some Gave All.” Freedom isn’t free, and some have paid a very high price for the liberties we enjoy.

Tour of the Veterans Center Station One: Teleport Landing Pad

This is where everyone lands when they teleport into the Veterans Center. We’ve added some features to make the Veterans Center more user-friendly. To the right of the avatar is a Site Map and legend. The round white disk in front of the person on the teleport landing pad is an area teleport. And the green post in front of the avatar is a Vote Box…be sure to click on it to let Linden Labs know you had an enjoyable visit.

Use your camera controls to zoom in on the text below the map to read more about the buildings and features here at the Veterans Center. Mouse over the text. Next, hold down your Alt key. You’ll see that the hand changes into a magnifying glass. While holding down the Alt key, just move your mouse forward to zoom. Or use your trackwheel.

Our Area Teleport is easy to use. Just click on it, then pick your destination from the blue heads-up display (HUD) menu. Then click on the column of light to teleport!

Finally, please remember to click on the Vote Box when you land or if not, when you leave.

American Legion is Coming to the U.S. Military Veterans Center in Second Life (SL)

American Legion’s national headquarters has authorized the establishment of a presence in Second Life. We are pleased to announce that the Legion plans to equip and possibly staff an area upstairs in the main Veterans Center building (shown in this screenshot). In this view, their area is on the second floor at the right hand side of the building.

Independence Day Military Ball Friday 04 July 2008 7-10 PM SL

Join us from 7 to 10 PM SL for our 2008 Independence Day Military Ball for members and guests of the U.S. Military Veterans Center in Second Life. Formal civilian attire or military dress uniform recommended.

Thank you to Navy vet Edward Pluto and his lovely Mya Shalala for opening their Moonlight Serenade Ballroom to us for this magnificent event. Ride this SLURL Limousine or catch a Landmark Limo in-world.

If you don’t have the Landmark, just go to the U.S. Military Veteran group, click on the Notices tab, and look at Archived Notices. You can sort by notice sender, title or date by clicking on the column headings. Then just click on the notice of interest to reopen it and then open the attachment, which will put the Landmark into your Inventory’s recent items tab.

Need formal civilian attire or a dress military uniform? Select U.S. Military Veteran in your groups and then open a group Instant Message to shout out to fellow members for suggestions. Two popular locations are Kilby’s and The Hangar.

Most ballrooms in Second Life do offer free gowns and tuxes…just click the Search button at the bottom of your Second Life screen and look for “Ballroom.”

Need a dance partner for the Military Ball? Again, use group IM to alert others that you are available to accompany them to the event. For example, “Any ladies (or gentlemen) in need of a dance partner for the ball? Please IM to me.” If you want to check out the profile of someone who has announced their availability in group IM, just click on their name. It will open their profile.

The Moonlight Serenade has a line dance for those who come unaccompanied, but it fills up fast.

Goodbye to Gazillions of Group Notices

You asked for it…reduced group notices. Now we’re going to experiment with the blog so our group members can check in at their convenience.

As always, you’re encouraged to sound off with your comments, corrections, suggestions and concerns.