Friday, November 5, 2021

The Second Life Veterans Tribute

By Bixyl Shuftan, 

Besides Thanksgiving, November is also known for Veterans Day in the United States. And every November, a group of volunteers set up the Veterans Tribute in honor of American vets, as well as veterans from other countries. The location varries year to year, and in 2021 it's at the Rainbow Dream sim. This year marks the fifteenth the Tribute has been around in Second Life.

Welcome to the 15th Annual SL Veteran’s Tribute for 2021.  This is the 15th annual Veteran’s Tribute that we have put together. 

The tribute will be open from November 1st through November 15th!

The Tribute itself is non-political and serves one purpose and one purpose only and that is to honor all the men and women that have given willing of their time to protect the lives we enjoy today.

The goal of the Tribute is to provide a non-political, content filled, educational, interactive SIM inside Second Life where men and women of all walks of life can visit and provide remembrance and honor to those who have served in the Armed Services.

The tribute operates on a zero dollar budget and is non-profit; the entire tribute is built, funded, organized and executed on a purely volunteer basis. We have an organized group on SL called the “SL Veteran’s Tribute” if you would like to look it up.  This group will be used as the basis of our planning and scheduling for the Tribute.

Getting a notecard from Wildroses Pevensey, it had the following:

We will be hosting events daily (its not to late if you are still interested in donating some of your time to entertain us) Or if you would just like to come by and see the wall or submit a name to the wall. We continue to ad names to the wall and watch it grow. It is for past present and currently serving military Veterans around the world. I would try to describe the sim but i just can't it is something you have to see for yourself!

The SURL provided takes you to a small building that offers you a notecard explaining about the tribute. There's also a sign with some quick teleports to some of the different areas, such as the main stage. There's a sign next to the building showing what events are going on that day, or what went on the last day there were events. Walking straight ahead is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

 Straight ahead from there is the Memorial Wall in the center of the sim, sometimes just called "The Wall." I found a couple whom are known to history, WW1 aces Billy Bishop of Canada and Manfred von Ricthofen of Germany (the only German I saw on the memorial). Most are known only to friends and family, a mix of deceased veterans and some still alive, both retired and still serving. These are not just names on stones, but have stories behind them. The Newser reported on a few of them, Jacob Bolton/Lothi Aeon and the story of several US Marines from the same fire team who died in action or of wounds as described by a brother in arms, the one in the team who made it home.

The front section of The Wall has a number of flags overhead, with the United States and Canada in front. All the flags represent democratic republics. In the middle of the sections of wall is a fountain. It is surrounded by poppies and the flags and emblems of the six branches of the American military, the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and the newest one, the Space Force.

Surrounding The Wall are smaller displays, such as the Canadian Memorial, the September 11 Memorial, and the P.O.W. Memorial. There are two stages, the main stage and a smaller stage, for events. There are also displays of tanks and other ground vehicles, and a few planes in the air. There's also a couple ships, a battleship and a destroyer, on display in the water. There is something new this year. Previously, there was just a picture of the Lincoln Memorial. Now, it's an actually three-dimensional build, Lincoln Statue and all.

Monday November 1 was the opening of the Tribute, and that afternoon and evening there was an eight hour party at the smaller stage to celebrate with four DJs playing for four two-hour sets. I dropped in while Flattop Ewing was DJing, and it seems he hadn't played in a while, one lady saying, "Soooooooo great to hear you DJ again, after (over) ten years." Flattop laughed, "Right Dena? After (over) ten years, I think I might have lost a step or two?" There was more talking and joking. Eventually they told me that earlier, Ekim Linden had dropped by in a pinata avatar, showing me a picture.

Flattop and I would talk a little after the part. Of the Memorial Wall, "A lot of those names up there, I have heard some amazing stories over the years. Some will make ya cry, and then some will make ya cry laughing. ... Met a lady two years ago here. She lost her husband in Vietnam, she lost both her sons in Desert Storm, she lost her grandson in Afghanistan." He looked back at how long the Tribute has gone on, "Fifteen years now, absolutely incredible.  I think it showed that Second Life actually NEEDED a Veterans Tribute like this. I never even dreamed it would go this long." He appreciated the attention the Newser had given the tribute over time, "I love hearing the stories, so we never forget."

The Veterans Tribute is scheduled to be up until November 15. After that, it will soon fade away for another year.

To see more pictures of the Tribute, one can check out the Flickr page:

Image credit: Samson Rowley

Bixyl Shuftan

No comments:

Post a Comment