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Cash-Strapped USS Hornet Museum In Alameda Marks Veterans' Day, Appeals For Donations To Stay Afloat

ALAMEDA (KPIX 5) -- The USS Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum in Alameda held ceremonies Wednesday in honor of Veterans' Day, at the same time the museum is asking for the public's help.

The Hornet has survived South Pacific sea battles, a typhoon, and narrowly escaped the scrap yard. But now it faces a very different kind of crisis.

The historic aircraft carrier at the former Naval Air Station Alameda, has fallen on hard times. Closed for five months and opened with limited accessibility due to COVID restrictions, it's lost out on 80% of its revenue.

So on a day meant to honor veterans, the museum is asking for more than your appreciation. It's asking for your money.

"The startup costs are just going to be, when we get through to April, are going to be astronomical, if we can even get through to that," said museum spokesman Mark Epperson.

Epperson noted how other floating museum ships have had to halt operations because of the pandemic.

"Some ships have already shut down, the Entrepid in New York shut down, the Missouri in Hawaii, the New Jersey shut down. So they've already shut down trying to conserve their cash. We're an aircraft carrier. We fight, because that's what we do."

Which is why the museum asking for donations, either through a GoFundMe fundraiser or a one-time or monthly donation, to help it stay afloat. If it doesn't hit its fundraising goal, the museum could be forced to take a winter shutdown. So today's veterans' service is as much about honoring human veterans as it is about the relics on which they served.

"We've got a COVID battle flag that we developed. We're going to fight this. That was a decision we made," said Epperson. "We are going to go full speed ahead. We're not going to run."

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