It’s that time of the year again, it is time for Memorial Day. Memorial Day for many is the long awaited weekend that welcomes summer. A time to head to the beach, pool or fire up the grill for a BBQ. There are those who confuse Memorial and Veteran’s Day and for this I kindly ask please do not Thank a Veteran on Memorial Day. That’s not what Memorial Day is all about. Memorial day is the day to remember all of our soldiers that have fallen while in the line of duty. My husband has lost several brother’s at arms, I know those who lost their spouses, children who have lost their father. I don’t know many in the military community that do not know someone who gave all.
With Memorial Day on us I want to urge people to do something a little different this year. Find a way to remember those who gave their all so you do not have to. An easy way is to look and see if you have any military history museums in your area. Living in the Fort Bragg area we are blessed with several great museums but if I could only pick one it would be the Airborne and Special Operations Museum.
The Airborne and Special Operation’s Museum has been in Fayetteville since August of 2000 and tells the story of the Airborne and Special Operations Soldier from the 1940’s until present time. Since it opened in 2000 I have gone several times but it wasn’t until I went on the blogger familiarization tour with the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau that I was really able to get a deeper look into the museum. We have gone on our own and taken family in the past but I have always had a little one or two so while I was able to walk through the museum I never was able to really give it the full attention it deserves. Even with the blogger tour I would have loved more time. There is just so much to see and learn.
When exploring the museum there are two routes to go, explore the outside first or the inside. Outside you have the original Iron Mike statue from Fort Bragg. There are also memorial stones and pavers lining the walkways up to the museum. There is also something outside that you won’t find elsewhere, a memorial to the K-9 Soldier. On Memorial Day (Monday, May 25,2015) at noon they will be holding a special memorial day ceremony to honor the bravery and dedication of the special operations K-9 Soldier.
Since we were visiting on a rainy day we went straight inside. Upon entering you see 2 paratroopers hanging from the ceiling. Here is one of them:
Once you have signed in you are set to explore the museum. Inside they have a temporary exhibit, the main exhibit and a simulator ride. The current temporary exhibit is, Task Force Ranger And The Battle of Mogadishu. This is better known to many from the book and movie, BlackHawk Down.
This exhibit just received the John Wesley Powell Prize, an award that is typically given to museums such as the Smithsonian! It really is a great exhibit and thanks to receiving the award we get to keep the exhibit a bit longer than planned. You have until October 2016 to check it out.
Here are a couple highlights from the exhibit:
There are no words to describe this note.
Moving on we go onto enter the Main Exhibit hall.
Walking through there is something to look at at every turn.
I loved looking at the uniforms and how much they have changed but also have stayed the same. The unit patch for the 508th is exactly the same logo today!
There was honestly too much for me to include in this blog but here are some of the bigger exhibits:
You walk through the 1940’s to present day with close attention to detail in an attempt to not miss a thing. I saw pictures that were similar to those of my grandfathers from World War II, you can read about how the Pathfinders began and why they were important, learn about different weapons and gear that was used. The tour is self guided so you can spend as much time or as little as you would like!
When you finish looking at the exhibit there is one more experience waiting for you. The Airborne and Special Operations Museum also has a simulator ride! They just updated it and it was to debate during Armed Forces Weekend but I have something for you. Here is a sneak peak of the ride:
I’m sorry but if you want to see how it ends you will have to go to the museum!
The museum is located at:
100 Bragg Boulevard
Fayetteville, North Carolina
The museum Hours are:
Closed Mondays and Federal Holidays.
The museum will be open on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veteran’s Day.
We are closed on Federal Holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Day, and Easter.
The Exhibit Gallery closes at 4:45.
They recommend allowing 2-3 hours to tour the museum grounds.
Admission is free to the museum but they accept donations.
You do have to pay to ride the Motion Simulator, it is $5; half price for those under 36″. Tickets are available in the gift shop.
If you check out the museum from May 16 thru June 27th 2015 you will also have the opportunity to check out the North Carolina Field of Honor. Hundreds of American Flags are flying honoring those who serve, who have served and those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. The Field of Honor You can read more information about the North Carolina Field of Honor HERE.
ALL GAVE SOME. SOME GAVE ALL.