Yesterday the Young Marine in the family ‘dragged’ all of us off to see the new National Museum of the Marine Corps. Actually, he didn’t have to convince me much to go there as I’ve seen the ‘spire’ of this structure for some time now from the highway as I drive to and from work. Just the uniqueness of the design itself, inspired by a famous photograph, was enough to pique my interest even without what and whom the museum pays tribute to. So without the trees lining the highway to obscure the view, we pulled up and were greeted with this sight:
Even before walking in the door of this place my mind went into spasms of “oooooh! aaaaaah!” as it drew upon my own experiences in imagining everything that went into constructing such a unique building. When we stepped inside I of course just had to do what comes natural when faced with such a visual oddity: I looked up with childlike wonder to see if I could somehow divine the secrets of how it was constructed.
No such luck unfortunately, but in the awe-inspiring “Leatherneck Gallery” I was treated to grand sights of Marine history coming at me from both the air and ground such as these:
Indeed, I quickly learned that throughout the museum there are things to see from all sides up, down, left, right, you name it and undoubtedly I missed some in trying to take it all in. I was amazed at the fine job that was done here, a worthy tribute to a noble organization. The attention to detail was remarkable in the displays, including the small things that most people wouldn’t notice. For example, the mess of ‘bootprints’ on the ground in one Vietnam display. I wish I had taken a photo of it, for it was pretty clever in that they made it as if several pairs of boots trampled over the same spot running in different directions just like one would find in real dirt. There was so much detail in fact that one gentleman, not part of our family group and who appeared to be old enough to have served in Vietnam himself, looked over at me, smiled weakly, and said, “This is too realistic”, before leaving for another part of the museum. From exhibits showing Marines in the heat of battle…
…to the caring of one’s buddies during the fight…
…to finally the human cost of war in making the ultimate sacrifice.
Yet for all the fine work that went into making these displays, perhaps the most moving item for me was this everday object:
The simplicity of this is striking in what it represents: the death of thousands when our vigilance is relaxed and what such men and women as the Marines fight against everyday. The history lessons and tribute at the museum were nice and worht the visit, but in this small computer mouse I left with an immense feeling of gratitude for the Marines and all of those in uniform who defend our freedoms and keep us safe. Semper Fi, Leathernecks!