Memorial Day will serve as the long-awaited soft opening for the local military museum.
The Museum of the Forgotten Warriors in Linda has been closed, but president Roberta Spear says they will open for a partial day Monday and will take all the state-mandated precautions.
“It’s a treasure for Yuba County and I’d hate to not be open for Memorial Day because the people who come here and the docents are all very loyal,” Spear said. “I’m happy to be able to open up again and I’m not going to police people, if they want to wear masks they can, and we have lots of room out here so it will be easy to practice social distancing.”
Spear stressed that she won’t be having a big event like they’ve done in the past and will only be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Memorial Day.
Memorial Day is to honor and remember those who died in active military service.
“We will have some of the flags out in front of the museum but we won’t line the street like we’ve done in the past,” she said. “We won’t have any barbecue or food but we will have docents out here to help people find specific things they might be looking for.”
The museum is filled with memorabilia from numerous conflicts and wars over many years and Spear said they’re constantly receiving items from people to display.
“There are several things that people have dropped off since we’ve been closed and they haven’t left a name or any info but I’d love to know who they are,” she said. “One is an orange, U-2 flight suit and I think we have a mannequin that we can put the suit on.”
The suit has an Air Force major insignia on the shoulder with the name Dave Ebersole on a velcro patch and Spear said they like to include some back story with all of the items they display.
“Someone else left a photo album filled with Vietnam images during the war and I’d love to know who left it,” she said. “People are continuing to bring things to us, even though we’ve been closed.”
Spear’s favorite item at the museum is a wooden leg, donated to the museum about 20 years ago by a WWII veteran.
“A man donated his wooden leg to the museum when he got a new one,” she said. “Who donates a leg? It doesn’t get more personal than that. It’s old fashioned with straps on it and it’s very unique.”
With an untold amount of memorabilia, Spear says even she’s surprised at what’s at the museum.
“Every time I walk out here, and I’ve been here for 40 years, I’ll see something and say, ‘I’ve never seen that,’” she said. “There’s always something surprising to see.”
The museum was the brainchild of her late husband, Dann Spear, who died in 2018. A group of dedicated family members and volunteers are keeping things going.
“We got a wonderful grant from the Yuba Water Agency and we’re able to replace the pressure tank at the well,” she said. “Fortunately, we’ve had some great donations and we’re grateful for that.”
She said a memorial golf tournament, organized by Mary Jane Griego for her late father, helps bring in some needed finances for the operation and many other local businesses have helped over the years.
“If people have military items to donate, they can contact me so we can meet because I like to take a photo with the person and send them a thank you note,” she said. “We prefer items that have a personal story and history behind them.”
Spear said they have a link on their website where people can make a tax-deductible donation by mail.