The red brick is inscribed: “Selby Louden, Kentucky, 28th Infantry.” Thousands of people pass it every day as they enter the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. The brick is just in front of the main entrance.
On a recent visit with me to the Crescent City, my wife, Marcheta, got to see the brick for the first time. It was an emotional experience for both of us. The brick honors her late father, who landed at Normandy just a few days after D-Day, was severely wounded that summer and later sent back to the war zone after recuperating from his wounds.
I had purchased the brick a few years ago as a Christmas present for my mother-in-law.
The more than 30,000 bricks that line the perimeter of the museum are respected and lovingly cared for by the museum staff. “We scrub them every day,” said Terri Burton, associate vice president, membership, for the museum. “They add something special. They honor those who served in battle and on the home front. There is a deep, emotional reaction when people see them for the first time.”
Marcheta can attest to that.