The United States Army now has its own national museum.
The National Museum of the United States Army opened in Fort Belvoir, Virginia on Wednesday, Veterans Day. The site is about thirty kilometers from the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.
The museum is aimed at telling the story of the country’s oldest military service, which began 245 years ago in 1775.
The large five-level complex contains interactive and historical exhibits. It includes thousands of documents, pictures, artwork and many kinds of army equipment. They include a Sherman tank used in World War II, a helicopter from the Vietnam War, an armored personnel carrier from the Iraq War in 2003. Included are things like a saddle for horseback riding used by Army Special Forces in the mountains of Afghanistan in 2001.
A life-size exhibit shows the American forces landing on the beaches of Normandy, France on D-Day during World War II.
Weapons, protective wear and service awards are also shown. One display holds a time piece, a watch, from the wreckage of the September 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon military headquarters.
Many exhibits deal with wartime activity. But others center on peacekeeping operations and humanitarian missions around the world, said the new museum’s director Tammy Call. She also noted the exhibit Soldier Stories, saying it speaks of “the individual soldier story.”
It “allows us to get very personal and reflective,” the Army veteran told VOA.
Jack Querfeld, an official with the veterans’ organization, American Legion, praised what he saw at the museum. The exhibits of battle, he said, “put a human face on it, instead of just saying we fought here.”
“The National Army Museum will be a place for members of the total Army family to gather and share their stories,” said Ryan D. McCarthy, secretary of the Army.
That means a lot to museum visitor B.J. Lawrence. He leads the Washington, D.C., office of the organization, Veterans of Foreign Wars. He served in the U.S. Army in South Korea in the early 1980s.
Lawrence said he found the exhibits on the Korean War “especially touching,” and called the museum overall “phenomenal.”
“And”, he said, “it helps to explain and put into perspective why the American people enjoy the freedoms they do today,” he added.
I’m Mario Ritter Jr.
Deborah Block reported this story for VOANEWS. Mario Ritter Jr. adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
museum –n. a building in which interesting and valuable things (such as paintings and sculptures or scientific or historical objects) are collected and shown to the public
interactive –adj. designed to respond to actions, commands usually the electronic devices
exhibit –n. a show of something to the public such as in a museum
allow –v. to permit
reflective –adj. causing thoughtfulness or thinking about something
phenomenal –adj. very good; unusual in a way that is impressive
perspective –n. a way of thinking about and understanding something (such as a particular issue or life in general)
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