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Heroes Hall to mark 2nd anniversary and unveil new exhibit during event Saturday

Heroes Hall — the veterans museum at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa — will debut the exhibit “Victory From Within: The American Prisoner of War Experience” as part of its second-anniversary celebration Saturday.
(Courtesy of OC Fair & Event Center)

Heroes Hall — the veterans museum at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa — will celebrate its second anniversary and unveil its newest exhibit during a free public event Saturday.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., visitors can take in music and refreshments as well as tours of the facility.

They also will get a first look at “Victory From Within: The American Prisoner of War Experience,” a traveling exhibit created by the National Park Service.

The exhibit explores four primary themes: “capture, prison life, those who wait and freedom,” according to the fairgrounds.


Four former prisoners of war who live in Orange County — George Emerson, 93, and Lloyd Roberts, 90, both of Huntington Beach, Edison Miller, 87, of Irvine and Dan Oldewage, 93, of Orange — will attend Saturday to share their stories.

“Every prisoner had a harrowing experience to share,” Emerson, who was imprisoned in Germany during World War II, said in a statement. “And that is how we spent much of our time, telling capture stories.”

Roberts, who was captive for 27 months in North Korea during the Korean War, said: “Not a day goes by that something doesn’t remind me of prison camp. It’s usually food. I swore I would never waste a morsel of food after that experience.”

Heroes Hall first opened on Feb. 15, 2017, the 75th anniversary of the activation of the Santa Ana Army Air Base.


The building that houses the museum was originally a barracks for the base, a World War II-era training camp that covered a large portion of what is now Costa Mesa, including the fairgrounds, until it was decommissioned in 1946.

The structure was saved from planned demolition in 2013 following a lobbying effort by veterans and preservationists. It was moved to its current home near Centennial Farm in 2016.

For more information about the museum or Saturday’s event, visit The Fair & Event Center is at 88 Fair Drive.