The National D-Day Memorial Foundation broke ground on its third Quonset hut exhibit.
The structure will be called the “Fleda Hut,” in honor of benefactor Fleda Ring, who passed away in July 2018.
Fleda’s husband, Peter, joined Board Chairman Dr. Tom Nygaard and Foundation President April Cheek-Messier at the sod-turning ceremony on January 7.
The new Quonset hut will be used for educational purposes and will display artifacts. The hut is replacing the current education tent, named the John Robert “Bob” Slaughter Youth Learning Center.
“This is a critical addition to the Memorial and a timely one as we approach the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in June. Our veterans will see first-hand that our mission continues,” said April Cheek-Messier.
The Bob Slaughter Youth Learning Center has been part of the Memorial since 2002. Eventually, the learning center will move into a larger education center that will be constructed within the next few years. Once the education center is built, the learning center will remain the primary learning center and creative space for students. It will still bear Slaughter’s name.
The Fleda Hut will offer more space and enhancements with technological features for presentations. It will be open to Memorial visitors when it’s not in use for school programs.
“The new ‘Fleda Hut’ education space and the Bob Slaughter Youth Learning Center are just a few ways we will keep the memory of our veterans alive as we ensure their stories are shared for generations to come,” said Cheek-Messier.
A dedication ceremony for the Fleda Hut will be held on Memorial Day 2019.
The National D-Day Memorial Foundation started construction on its first Quonset hut in 2016. It was the first big construction project since it opened in 2001. The first hut was completed in 2017 and serves as a visitor center and gift shop. Soon after, the memorial assembled their second Quonset hut.
Quonset huts gained popularity back in 1941 during World War II when the military requested a special kind of structure that could meet several of their needs. The Navy wanted an all-purpose building that was lightweight, easily shipped, and easily assembled.
The pure steel, semi-circular Quonset Huts were used as barracks, latrines, offices, medical facilities, isolation wards, and even bakeries.