View Full Version : National Museum of the Marine Corps: Honoring our troops every day

05-25-09, 08:38 AM
National Museum of the Marine Corps: Honoring our troops every day
May 25, 12:09 AM


The Marine's spirited welcome is the perfect greeting for anyone visiting the National Museum of the Marine Corps in the Virginia countryside just south of Washington, DC.

The museum's physical structure itself is impressive, evoking dramatic images of the World War II flag raising at Iwo Jima.

The day I visited, a group of new officer recruits lined up outside the entrance in perfect formation. It made my trip through the front doors all the more poignant.

The Leatherneck Gallery surrounds you with images of honor, courage, and commitment in the faces and words of the men and women of the U.S. Marine Corps. The marble-walled gallery features a mast rising through the air, with a Harrier flying overhead while Marines disembark from a helicopter on the gallery floor.

The entire museum is just as amazing as that first view. There are six other galleries: Making Marines (boot camp); Uncommon Valor: Marines in World War II; Send in the Marines: The Korean War; In the Air, on Land and Sea: The War in Vietnam; Global War on Terrorism: The U.S. Marine Corps in Today's Fight; and the Combat Art Gallery.

This is no ordinary museum with rows of glass-fronted display cases. The National Museum of the Marine Corps is a living testament to our troops that encourages audience interaction. I was in awe gazing at the first two flags raised on Iwo Jima and fascinated with the variety of weapons used on the battlefield, from the M1911 .45 caliber automatic pistol to the AV-8 Harrier hanging overhead.

But it was the marines themselves that captured my heart. The human figures, cast in wax, look hauntingly real. From the young recruits to the men rappelling from a helicopter to the medic tending a dying soldier in the field, I walked through the exhibits with renewed respect for these military heroes. Frequently, I had to wipe away the tears, but I left feeling more hopeful than sad.

As I wound my way through the group of new Marine officers visiting that day, I felt proud to be an American. Nothing in the museum has to do with politics. It has everything to do with honor, courage, and commitment.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Christmas. Parking and admission are both free.

For more info: National Museum of the Marine Corps, 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway, Triangle, Virginia (just off I-95, 36 miles south of Washington, DC). 1-877-635-1775. http://www.usmcmuseum.org.