The Bugler

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Let's Go to the Museum

space shuttleEarlier this spring, many of us had the treat of viewing on television as the space shuttle Enterprise flew at low altitude down the Hudson River and over the Statue of Liberty and the Freedom Tower (under construction) before landing at JFK Airport. The banks of the river were lined with spectators for this historical flyover and then later people loved watching as the shuttle made its historic ride by barge to the Intrepid, the converted WWII aircraft carrier, which is now a floating sea, space and air museum on the Hudson River in New York City, http://www.intrepidmuseum.org/shuttle/home.aspx. The Intrepid Museum will host the SAMSUNG SpaceFest from July 18-22 to celebrate the opening of Intrepid’s Space Shuttle Pavilion. Visit the museum’s website, www.intrepid.org , to see all the things that the Intrepid offers. Also, there is an amazing gallery of videos, http://www.intrepidmuseum.org/Shuttle/Gallery.aspx, that tells the story of the shuttle’s final journey to New York City.

But, the Intrepid is not the only great museum in the United States. There are gems celebrating our armed forces in almost every state of the union. If you google military museums, it will direct you to the www.military.com website which has a state by state listing of military-related museums and activities.

There are museums all over America that are worth a visit and here are a few that you might want to plan to see during your summer or fall travels. The 45th Infantry Division Museum, http://www.45thdivisionmuseum.com/, is in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The museum houses the Reaves Weapon collection, which contains weapons used in battles from the Civil War through Vietnam as well as the Bill Mauldin Cartoon Collection. Mauldin was a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist. “He was most famous for his World War II cartoons depicting American soldiers, as represented by the archetypal characters "Willie and Joe", two weary and bedraggled infantry troopers who stoically endure the difficulties and dangers of duty in the field.” See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Mauldin. For outdoor fun the museum also has a 15 acre park, Thunderbird Park, which features “tanks, artillery, personnel carriers, aircraft, and the Thunderbird Monument which pays tribute to the men who served with the Division in World War II and Korea; as well as those men and women who continue to serve in Oklahoma’s National Guard.”

If you are driving south of Richmond, Virginia on Interstate 95 be sure and take a detour and visit the U.S. Army Women’s Museum in Fort Lee, Virginia, www.awm.lee.army.mil . This is the only museum dedicated solely to women in the army and has exhibits demonstrating women’s contributions to the armed services since the Revolutionary War.

Another type of interesting experience will be had at the General George Patton Museum of Leadership in Fort Knox, Kentucky which is redefining itself as the Army’s only museum dedicated to leadership. According to its website, www.generalpatton.org, the museum “conducts age-appropriate tours of the temporary exhibits that focus on what it means to be an Army leader; men and women, privates and generals, who stood in the breach and faced adversity with courage and conviction. Some failed, others did not. They came from the city streets and rural roads that we all see every day. This is the story of Americans; who we were, who we are, and who we can be.”

One of the most delightful ways to spend a few days is on the coastal area of Connecticut, which is brimming with naval museums. One of the most exciting is the Submarine Force Museum, www.ussnautilus.org, which is home of the historic U.S.S. Nautilus.  The museum says that aboard Nautilus, one can “experience first-hand the thrill of being a submariner as you walk the decks that made Naval history: the world's first nuclear powered vessel, first ship to go to the North Pole, and first submarine to journey "20,000 Leagues under the sea."  The Submarine Force Museum is in Groton, only about 15 miles from another historical site, Mystic Seaport, which chronicles seafaring in America and is the nation’s leading maritime museum, http://www.mysticseaport.org/.

U.S.S. Nautilus

This is just a small sampling of museums that are worth exploring. There are many more including the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, www.ddaymuseum.org, the 82nd Airbourne Divison War Memorial Museum at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 82ndairbornedivisionmuseum.com, or the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/. There is probably a great museum near where you live, so tell us about it and we will do a write up on our Facebook page. Be sure to check the websites of any of these museums before you visit for operating days and hours.

Korean War Veteran's Day is July 27

U.S. flag should be displayed in mourning at half staff by Order of Congress. For more information go to http://koreanwar.defense.gov/.

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