Donovan and Powers Speaking as Heroes Among Us in Minneapolis – December 3, 2015

As is the backdrop for the current feature film Bridge of Spies, as well as the recently re-released book Strangers on a Bridge, during the Cold War, the Soviet Union captured U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers after shooting down his U-2 spy plane. Sentenced to 10 years in prison, Powers’ only hope was New York lawyer James Donovan, recruited by a CIA operative to negotiate his release. Donovan boarded a plane to Berlin, hoping to win the young man’s freedom through a prisoner exchange. If all went well, the Russians would get convicted spy Rudolf Abel, who Donovan defended in court years earlier.
On December 3, 2015, as part of Beth El Synagogue’s Heroes Among Us Series, John Donovan and Gary Powers, Jr., will offer their take on the spirit of service, as well as the challenges facing the United States and international diplomacy. These sons – crucial to this story of service and heroism – inspire our own journeys to serve.
John Donovan served as an infantryman and then combat correspondent with the First Marine Division during the Vietnam War, was arrested in East Berlin while smuggling a letter from a dissident through the Berlin Wall just after Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech, served as Latin American information director in Washington with the U.S. Foreign Aid Program, and perhaps most important for current foreign relations: joined his father on one of his many trips to Cuba as a peace hostage.
During one journey, they traveled across Cuba in the same car with Fidel Castro during negotiations for the release of U.S. prisoners just after the Cuban Missile Crisis and the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. Donovan salvaged U.S. relations with Cuba, securing the release of 1100+ prisoners in exchange for humanitarian aid. It has been reported that Donovan’s negotiations secured the freedom of close to 10,000 people. John Donovan is the co-author of the book, After the Bay of Pigs, and has retained close ties to the Cuban Families Committee and Cuban-American community in Miami.
Gary Powers, Jr., is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of The Cold War Museum, which he founded in 1996 to honor Cold War veterans, preserve Cold War history, and educate future generations about this time period. As Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Cold War Theme Study, he works with the National Park Service and leading Cold War experts to identify historic Cold War sites for commemorating, interpreting and preservation.
A portion of the proceeds of this once-in-a-lifetime event will help underwrite Beth El Synagogue’s Minnesota National Guard unit support initiative, directly benefiting the 682nd Engineer Battalion, currently deployed overseas.
More information and tickets are available online at
Date/Time: Thursday, December 3, 2015, 7:00 pm Location: Beth El Synagogue 5225 Barry Street West St. Louis Park, MN 55416

The Gift of Wings: BT-13 Restoration Project

The American Aviation Heritage Foundation, Inc., 501(c)(3) of Blaine, Minnesota, is currently engaged in an extensive and historically significant project: to restore to airworthy condition a WWII Vultee BT-13 “Valiant.” Upon completion our BT-13 will be presented to the National WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) WWII Museum at Avenger Field, Sweetwater Texas where it will become an essential part of the museum’s efforts to preserve the legacy of the brave, patriotic women who flew virtually every type of military aircraft in the USAAF inventory in service to their country during WWII. The acquisition of an airworthy BT-13 will enhance the mission of the National WASP WWII Museum in a manner in which our nation’s rich and exciting military aviation heritage is translated into a rewarding learning experience for people from around the world. We anticipate that the WASP BT-13 will be flown during museum-sponsored programs and aviation-related events nationally where it will serve to educate others on the important contribution of the WASP to the ultimate victory in WWII. “Lest We Forget.”
Something important to think about…The last quarter of the year is a good time to make a charitable donation to an organization with which you feel a strong connection, or a common bond, and whose work you would like to support. The American Aviation Heritage Foundation welcomes all contributions, in any amount, in support of our mission and programs. Contributions are deductible on individual IRS Federal income tax returns to the full extent allowed by law, and may be considered either as “Directed” in support of a specific program like the BT-13 restoration, or “Unrestricted” in support of the Foundation generally, as determined by our Board of Directors. Please indicate your intentions by memo on your check made payable to The American Aviation Heritage Foundation and mailed to our corporate address as noted below. Official confirmation for tax reporting will be provided. The BT-13 project is a major undertaking, requiring a significant commitment of time, talent and financial resources. It is only through the generosity of many individuals and organizations that we are able to complete our important work. Thank you in advance for your support and friendship.

The American Aviation Heritage Foundation, Inc.
8891 Airport Rd NE B-14
Blaine, MN 55449

War, Disability and the American Veteran. 10NOV Event

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 7–9pm
World War I, which ended 97 years ago, was a turning point in the history of the treatment of veterans and of veterans’ policy in the United States. In this program, revisit the aftermath of World War I, the story of its veterans and the origins of Veterans Day, and discover how the history influenced the experiences of veterans involved in more recent wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. The presentation is by John M. Kinder, associate professor of history at Oklahoma State University and author of Paying with Their Bodies: American War and the Problem of the Disabled Veteran. The talk will be followed by a public dialogue with veterans’ advocates Floyd Nagler, a former Marine and Army reservist who served in Vietnam; and Ginger Macdonald, a retired 1st Sergeant, who served with the National Guard in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The program will be moderated by Vietnam veteran Doug Bekke, curator of the Minnesota Military Museum.
Minnesota History Center 3M Auditorium 345 Kellogg Blvd. West St. Paul MN 55102 651-259-3000

This event is free and open to the public. History Center exhibits are free from 5-8 pm on Tuesday eve

*** SPEAKER CHANGE *** for 22OCT Session

Due to unforeseen and last-minute issues, our original speaker for the 22OCT program, Pat O’Donnell, is unable to come for his presentation. Jon Parshall has agreed to step in with a repeat of a Program that he developed for the Nimitz Museum on the use of Kamikazes by the Japanese in WWII.

Nuremberg: The Nazi War Crimes Trial (11/11/2015 Talk)

 World Without Genocide will host a talk examining the legacy of the Nuremberg trials and the precedents it established for modern international criminal law. The event will take place on Wednesday, November 11, 7:00-9:00 pm at William Mitchell College of Law Conservatory, 875 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105. The event is open to the public and no reservations are necessary. $10 public, $5 students and seniors, free to William Mitchell and Hamline lawstudents. Continuing education credits are available for teachers and lawyers: 2.0 educator clock hours; $40 for 2 standard CLEs.  This year marks the 70th anniversary of the international tribunal known as the “Nuremberg Trials,” where key Nazi perpetrators were prosecuted.   The program examines the proceedings at Nuremberg in 1945 at the InternationalMilitary Tribunal (IMT) and the precedents they set for prosecuting genocide, warcrimes, and crimes against humanity. Professor Michael J. Bazyler, J.D., co-author ofThe Forgotten Trials of the Holocaust and professor at Chapman University Schoolof Law in California, will discuss the IMT’s influence on subsequent internationaltribunals and the current human rights system. The event is co-sponsored by the Minnesota State Bar Association HumanRights Committee; Mt. Zion Temple, St. Paul; St. Joan of Arc Church,Minneapolis; and the Human Rights Program and Program in Human Rightsand Health, University of Minnesota. More information here.

Faces of War: Russia in World War I (1914-1918) September 26, 2015 – March 13 2016

Faces of War: Russia in World War I (1914-1918)

The multimedia exhibition Faces of War: Russia in World War I (1914-1918) will present a documentary narrative of Russia in WWI drawing on the rich collections of Russian archives and museums, as well as collections from seven countries.

This major exhibition at The Museum of Russian Art is held in collaboration with The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, The Federal Archival Agency of the Russian Federation, The Russian State Archives, The State Museum and Exhibition Center “ROSIZO” in association with The Russian Historical and Military History Societies. Partners include collections in Armenia, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Serbia, Germany, and the U.S. (Minnesota Military Museum, the Foundation of Russian History) as well as private collectors.Faces of War: Russia in World War I presents the story of WWI as a historical drama of epic proportions that brought incalculable destruction and suffering to millions of people. The exhibition highlights the fate of soldiers and officers who were killed and maimed in WWI and highlights the fate of Russia’s military during World War I.

Click here for more information.

Witnessing History: Honoring Liberators and the Liberated Event on 29OCT

Witnessing History: Honoring Liberators and the Liberated  Thursday, October 29 @ 7:00 p.m. Beth El Synagogue 5225 Barry Street West, St. Louis Park, MN  55416

Please join the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas and the Minnesota National Guard for a meaningful commemoration and celebration of the Liberators and Liberated. Colonel Edward Shames, one of the last surviving members of the Band of Brothers, will speak about his new book Airborne: The Combat Story of Ed Shames of Easy Company.  The evening will also feature the paintings of local artist Kathryn Anderson Richards. Richards’ artwork depicts her grandfather’s slides of Dachau’s liberation. Kathryn’s grandfather, Reinhold M. Ericson, served in the 116th Evacuation Hospital and served the 7th Army in the Battle of the Bulge before liberating Dachau.  RSVP at

For more info: (612) 338-7816  Registration recommended, Open to the Public

See Flyer here


The Fallen of WW2 (interactive presentation)

The Fallen of World War 2 The Fallen of World War II is an interactive documentary that examines the human cost of the second World War and the decline in battle deaths in the years since the war. The 15-minute data visualization uses cinematic storytelling techniques to provide viewers with a fresh and dramatic perspective of a pivotal moment in history. The film follows a linear narration, but it allows viewers to pause during key moments to interact with the charts and dig deeper into the numbers. Click here for the story