Visit the Veteran’s Memorial Museum

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Image by Petr Kratochvil

In celebration of this Veteran’s Day, I’m encouraging everyone to visit their local Veteran’s Memorial Museum. Remember those who have fallen in honor. We may not always agree on every topic but honoring those who sacrifice for their beliefs is respectful.

Not many miles from where I live is one such Veteran’s Memorial Museum. Recently, because my son is deeply entrenched in the armed services stage of his childhood, we visited. They have guns and flags, tanks and artillery, a helicopter – and dozens of old men (veterans of many different wars) who love to talk. Need I say more?

We’re fortunate that our facility also has a library that is open for member and public use – if there’s something I need to know about a place or event, chances are I’ll find assistance there.

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Image by Summer Woods.

Another thing I think is nice, is how the museum strives to include information about the times of each war era – what was happening on the frontline as well as events back home. There are clothes and uniforms, accoutrements and military issue items. It’s a fascinating place to visit but also overwhelming. The sheer volume of objects is mind-numbing and when I began to realize that the majority of their collection was offered up by local residents whose family members had fought (and sometimes died) in those conflicts, the entire place took on a mausoleum quality. The impact of grief and loss is palpable – and ALL of this comes from one small community. Consider that and apply it across the country and around the world, truly an amount of immeasurable loss.

My grandfathers both fought in World War II. I’m fortunate to still have one of those men in my life. Last month I was at the airport the day a plane filled with WWII veterans returned from the inaugural opening of the World War II Memorial in Washington DC. It was heartwarming to see these men, many elderly and frail, receive a standing ovation from the crowd of civilians as the color guard led the procession out of the terminal. Time moves on and we forget. They never do.

poppyWhatever you feel about armed conflict, about the role of military, don’t take it out on the men and women who opt to serve. Remember them on Veteran’s Day. Yes, they made a personal choice to serve, but they also did it for you.

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