For the first time in history, the US Army has its own Museum.
On Wednesday, as Americans celebrated Veterans Day, the National Museum of the US Army opened at Fort Belvoir in Northern Virginia.
The army is the only branch of the US Armed Forces that has not yet had its own national Museum. Located 32 kilometers south of the Metropolitan District of Columbia, the Museum displays the history of the country’s oldest military service, which was founded 245 years ago in 1775.
The Museum’s collection, which occupies a five-story building, includes various historical exhibits and thousands of documents, images, works of art, and artifacts. Among them, among others, is the legendary Sherman tank used by the Americans during World War II, a helicopter from the Vietnam War, an armored personnel carrier that the US military used during the Iraq war in 2003, and a riding saddle used by US Special Forces in the Afghan mountains in 2001.
Another exhibit shows how American troops stormed Normandy’s beaches during the Allied landings in World War II in 1944.
While many of the exhibits are dedicated to the Army’s military history, the Museum also features displays about peacekeeping operations and humanitarian missions in which the US Army participated around the world, Tammy Call, the Museum’s Director, told Voice of America.
The main exhibition, called “Soldier’s stories,” reveals the image of an individual soldier as part of a shared history explains Call, who is herself an Army veteran: “It makes [the exhibition] very personal and makes you think.”
“The National Army Museum will be a place where members of the entire army family can gather and share their stories,” said Ryan McCarthy, Secretary of the Army.
This is of great significance to B.J. Lawrence, Executive Director Of the office of veterans of foreign wars in Washington. Lawrence served as an Army Sergeant in South Korea in the early 1980s.
In his opinion, the Museum is “phenomenal” and, during the tour of the complex, “exhibits related to the Korean war” touched him very much. Lawrence explained that he is a supporter of returning missing soldiers to their homeland.
According to B.J., the Museum “tells us how important military service is for our country… This helps explain and understand why the American people have the opportunity to enjoy today’s democratic freedoms.”