Sir John Buchan, the First Baron of Tweedsmuir, said, "Those who do not study history are condemned to repeat it," and Veteran's Day is a perfect time to take his statement to heart. As the United States is involved in its first major military conflict of the 21st century, it can be both educational and moving to take a virtual trip to some of the museums and memorials that commemorate our country's military history.
The Military Branches
The four main branches of the United States Military each offer a unique perspective on modern wars. The US Army Center of Military History has recorded the official history of World War II, as well as detailed series on the Army's role in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The center is creating a series on the U.S. Army in the Cold War. You can view photographs and artwork, and read extensive articles on military protocol, history and tradition.
The Naval Historical Center provides information on certain wars and conflicts, history of Naval Aviation and selections from the Navy Art Collection.
The galleries at the United States Air Force Museum contain pictures and information on planes, weapons and uniforms used throughout Air Force history.
The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum is the only Marine Corps Aviation museum. It contains 41 airframes ranging from World War II to present-day jet aircraft and a research library containing videos, technical publications, periodicals, photographs and books. Visit the site to view selected photos and aircraft they have on display.
A different perspective is offered at museums devoted specifically to the coverage of a particular war or a particular aspect of war. The Freedom Museum is a museum completely devoted to honoring veterans. The thrust of the permanent exhibit is the 20th century and it features combat photography and reproductions of combat art from all American wars of the last century. Special exhibits will be mounted for commemorations such as D-Day and the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Check out the fascinating collection of photographs taken by veterans.
The National D-Day Museum commemorates the "courage and sacrifice of the men and women who won World War II." The online exhibits offer information about the beaches of Normandy and air and sea craft used in the invasions.
The National Vietnam War Museum is in the process of being built. Learn about what is planned and offer to help by purchasing a brick or becoming a "Friend of the Museum." Click on the "vision for the museum" for historical information about the events leading up to the war, the war itself and the aftermath.
The Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library contains resources for locating veterans, as well as information about several aspects of the war. Interesting topics include Women in Korea, poems by veterans, images from Korea and combat humor.
Visiting a memorial can be an excellent way to commemorate the actions of veterans. The Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Wall Page is a stunning site where you can search for a name and read information on soldiers who were born or who died on this date. Visit the photo gallery and read moving letters, poems and reminiscences by soldiers and survivors. The Korean War Veterans Memorial site contains photos and descriptions of the memorial, as well as background on the Korean War.
At the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, read articles from the newsletter and locate information about veterans. You can also learn about the ongoing oral history project and how you can help with the process of gathering information about women who served. The National World War II Memorial is in the process of being built. Read about what is planned, as well as some of the controversy that has surrounded the planning process.