Friday, January 24, 2020

The Bob Hope Theater and Flight 93 9/11 Memorial

By Bixyl Shuftan

The Bob Hope Theater has made the news a couple times recently, doing shows in honor of veterans. I recently had a talk with the owner and builder of the place, Paul Woodrunner, who runs it with the help of his partner Morganna1Wulfsong Resident. We met in front of the theater stage, which had it's curtains closed and the seating wasn't placed. "The chairs are not in the theater," Paul explained, "I only put them down before the show."

To younger residents who might not remember, Bob Hope was an entertainer whom performed many acts for American troops for several decades from World War Two to the Gulf War. "Bob Hope brought entertainment to the troops around the world. His shows gave a part of the world back to them. He was a bit of sunshine in their lives, something they never forgot. Troops at war, and there was Hope.  The Medal of Honor Society made an award, the Spirit of Hope, to honor his bravery and courage for so many years."

When I asked how long the theater had been around, Morganna answered, "Oh gosh, well, it traveled to different veterans sims but came back here to stay in what, August?" Paul added he set up the theater at it's current location, "after July 4th. I chose to not go on the road anymore. The Outsiders are about vets and bringing about an awareness of veterans, and sometimes their needs. It is about heroes mainly. The Outsiders are the dance troupe that calls Bob Hope Theater home. We are all about first responders  veterans active duty military. ... so many things I need to do to prepare for this show. It has to be part educational as well as entertaining."

The theater has several events a year, "We try to do six shows a year. We do mostly military or US holidays like Veterans Day, Memorial Day,  9/11 Patriot Day,  we do a welcome home Vietnam vet day show, we do a 4th of July show."

Just behind the theater is a memorial to the fallen at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, "The Ground Zero Memorial is a true tribute to those lost in 9/11." It was a build of the North Tower pool at the September 11 Memorial in New York City, a huge black marble square, with water running down the walls of the inside, going to a smaller square in the center. "I'm most proud of it," he went on to say, "I hope it lasts a long time."

Paul stated he had one other 9/11 Memorial, this one located elsewhere in the sim, the Flight 93 Memorial, also called The Tower of Voices." Tping to the location, we were on a square with an eagle picture in the center with a National Park Service sign, "Flight 93 Memorial," and a trail leading on. "Let us walk the path to the tower," Paul spoke as he and Morganna led me down, the route winding around and taking me to the tower.

In real life, the memorial is still unfinished. But here it is. The Second Life memorial is a 93 foot metal structure with 40 wind chimes. "It is now open but still under lite construction. The tower is a musical instrument, with 40 chimes all different in sound to represent the 40 passengers and crew who died on flight 93. It is a place for honor, this is sacred ground." Morganna told me, "If you have the music down, you can hear the voices coming from the tower, representing all those lost who fought." "When you get closer you will hear it, if your media is on. Photos at sunrise and set are awesome."

Paul also owns and runs the Empire Room, a venue located elsewhere on the sim.

Paul had to leave to take care of some business. Morganna would say, "He really is very modest. I really just think that what Paul has built comes from the heart. He sees something that touches the hearts of people, and he tries to create the same here so that no one is forgotten. When the dance troupe performs at the Bob hope it is with that same spirit, and this really is a fabulous sim overall."

Bob Hope Theater

Flight 93

Bixyl Shuftan

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