If you're looking to take your family to absorb some military values or just want to bask in the history of American infantrymen, make your way down to Columbus, Georgia to visit the National Infantry Museum. The museum has something for everyone, from families with kids to history buffs to new infantrymen to those wishing to pay respect to fallen comrades.
For the children, there's an area dedicated to the sacrifices of our nation's Blue and Gold Star Families. The Family Gallery pays respects to the vital role that families play in supporting their troops overseas. Kids can learn how difficult it was for children to reach their parents during earlier wars. It also takes an in-depth look at how to cope with the downsides of being a kid in a military family and highlights what's awesome about it.
While there, kids can play with a miniaturized version of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle turret and try on uniforms from throughout the ages.
Anyone feel like telling the kids that wearing a Drill Sergeant's campaign hat will curse them into becoming Drill Sergeants one day? No? Okay! (Image via National Infantry Museum)
To get to the historical side of the museum, you must first walk over The Last 100 Yards Ramp (a play on the Infantryman's duty to own the last 100 yards of the battlefield). On the ramp, infantrymen are shown fighting at Yorktown, Antietam, Soissons, Normandy, Corregidor, Landing at LZ X-Ray, and the ongoing wars.
Exhibits include "The International Stage," which details the Spanish-American War and life in the trenches during the "War to End All Wars." The largest portion is dedicated to the "World at War." In this exhibit, spectators tour the vehicles, weapons, parachutes, and uniforms of the Greatest Generation — including Audie Murphy's service ribbons. Next is "The Cold War" that takes you through a recreation of a Korean War bunker, the jungles of Vietnam, and portions of the Berlin Wall. Finally, you explore "The Sole Superpower" exhibit in honor of the infantrymen from 1989 through to today.
Not shown is how much it must have sucked to live and fight in a swamped-out trench. (Image via National Infantry Museum)
The National Infantry Museum also houses the "Halls of Honor," dedicated to all the Infantrymen who've received the Medal of Honor, Rangers who've gone above and beyond, and the distinguished officers who've gone through the Fort Benning Officer Candidate School. The museum also has the distinction of having the largest movie screen in the region, on which it shows historical films, 3-D recreations of famous wars, and even fun films for the children.
They also have a combat simulator that's more intense than any video game. (Image via National Infantry Museum)
Finally, outside the museum stands a 3/4-scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. that once toured the country to give vets a chance to visit without going to the capital. Recently, they also dedicated the new Global War on Terrorism Memorial to all the troops that have lost their lives in combat since September 11th, 2001. To learn more about the new memorial, watch the video below.
(National Infantry Museum | Vimeo)