Why Build the Museum?
For far too long the US Army has lacked both a comprehensive story place and a fitting tribute to relate and recognize the personal and professional sacrifices of its Soldiers. It is now time to hear them, and to say thanks to fourteen generations of American Soldiers whose leadership, character, and selfless sacrifice have forged and safeguarded our nation for over two centuries. A great Army deserves a great Museum.
To understand ourselves, our country, and our culture, we can learn much from our Army and its Soldiers, past and present. Their history is our history, told from a unique and remarkable perspective.
Regardless of the mission—whether combat, peacekeeping, or nation-building—Soldiers’ stories exemplify the indomitable spirit that has so clearly defined the American character since 1775.
It is now time to build the National Museum of the United States Army.
Today there are approximately 11 million living US Army veterans, most of whom served during times of war. While there are more veterans of the Army than of any other service, the Army is the only one without a national museum or monument.
These 11 million living Army veterans – along with the more than 1 million men and women currently serving in the active Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard – deserve to be celebrated in a national, world-class museum. They deserve recognition and appreciation for their service to our nation.
To preserve our history.
Not only will the National Army Museum honor our living veterans, but it will showcase the legacy of some 30 million men and women who have worn the Army uniform since 1775. These Citizen-Soldiers helped secure our nation’s independence, and have served loyally, protecting America ever since.
The over 200 hundred years of Army history have produced important artifacts, artwork, and documents. This rich past, which has been safeguarded by the Army, will be showcased properly for the benefit of the American public. The Museum will preserve, study, and exhibit Army history, including an estimated 750,000 artifacts and works of art.
To educate the public.
By showcasing this history, the Museum will address an alarming trend in American education. Consider the following results of the 2006 National Assessment of Educational Progress:
- When asked to identify which country was a US ally at the beginning of World War II, less than half of American 12th graders chose the Soviet Union; nearly as many picked Germany or Italy.
- When asked in which country the US fought from 1964-1973, 60% of American fourth graders did not correctly identify Vietnam as the answer.
Sadly, American students are losing touch with their nation’s history. The National Army Museum will educate the public about our country’s heritage. Interactive, multi-media exhibits will teach millions of visitors about the many ways in which the Army has impacted their lives, from developing vaccines to exploring space.
To inspire currently serving and future Soldiers.
The Army’s story is one that takes a whole museum to tell. It is a proud history, strung together by the individuals who have dedicated their lives to service. The story of the Army will be told in the National Museum through the stories of Soldiers – ordinary individuals who served their country and achieved extraordinary things.
At a time when so many Soldiers are currently serving our country and defending our national interests all over the world, it is especially important to inspire these young people and give them and their loved ones pride in an institution that is older than the United States itself. They deserve the National Army Museum.