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Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, Pittsburgh, PA

In honor and thanks to the veterans, today we are visiting Pittsburgh's Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum. It was built from 1908-1910 as a memorial to the dwindling ranks of Civil War veterans. Today this building  stands as a beautiful and enduring symbol of gratitude to the current, past, and lost members of the Armed Forces. Estimates say that roughly 2.9 million individuals have died or been seriously injured within American war efforts. This landmark memorializes the efforts of all and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Inside and outside of the memorial, relics spanning from the Civil War to today are exhibited, including this World War II Steam Torpedo. The front area of the memorial consists of a relaxing park area that serves as a fitting memorial. The park area offers a quite area to relax in the middle of the University of Pittsburgh campus. On beautiful spring days you see people outside studying and relaxing, and in the winter you see people sledding down the gentle slope in the park.
For those of you who are fans of Silence of the Lambs, the memorial served as the setting of a courthouse. I will not serve up a spoiler alert for the movie even though I am sure you have seen it.
The view of Pitt Campus from the park area. The brick pathway seen here is known as "Matthew Ridgeway Blvd" in honor of the Pittsburgh native who was a hero in World War II and the Korean War. Within the museum, over six hundred heroes with high honors are recognized.
The bell from the USS Pittsburgh, a Bethlehem Shipbuilding Ship that was built at the Bethlehem Steel plant in Quincy, Massachusetts. It served in both World War II and in naval expeditions across the world in the early 1950s. It was mothballed for a short period before it was decommissioned, sold, and scrapped. The ship met near disaster in World War II, when it was hit in a typhoon. It was severely damaged, yet miraculously no shipmen were lost and they were able to get the ship back for repairs. 
One of the most visible artifacts is this replica of a Civil War era canon, facing southwards. It is hard to imagine Oakland without the Cathedral of Learning, but the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial predates it.
The original intentions of the builders of the memorial have endured for over a century. Not too long after the memorial was completed, America's historic isolationism would end with the intervention in World War I. The look and role of the Armed Forces changed rapidly after this memorial was built, but the mission of this place as a living memorial, a place where the contributions of veterans are honored, and culture is centered, lives on. The memorial has a beautiful 2300 seat auditorium that has hosted concerts, including several with Bruce Springsteen. Nelson Mandela spoke at the memorial in 1991. President Obama, then as a senator, spoke at the memorial in 2008. This place is a true gem and a testament to the America that our nation's veterans have fought for. Through all of the struggles of our veterans, this memorial has served as a thriving and integral cultural center for the community. 

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