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

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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.

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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.

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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 ocfair.com/heroes-hall. The Fair & Event Center is at 88 Fair Drive.


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