By dicksworld

As you walk through the displays at the National Infantry Museum adjacent to Fort Benning,  it may seem incongruous, as you look at all of the representations of violence and mayhem, to reflect on love.  But, love is very much a soldier’s motivator.

Revolutionary War Exhibit, National Infantry Museum, Columbus, GA Revolutionary War Exhibit, National Infantry Museum, Columbus, GA 

A grandmother told me that she was not sure she should take her ten-year-old grandson to see the museum.  “It is about war and all of the horror that goes with it. I am not sure his parents would like it if I took him to see it.”

A lot of people have no problem at all taking their children to see it. I have seen a lot of them there.  For instance, as I was viewing a case with weapons in it, a  little boy walked up and asked me, “Do you work here?”

“No.  I’m just going through it like you are.”

“Were you in the Army?”  

“Yes I was.” 

 Then,  remembering what the grandmother told me, I asked him, “What do you think of all this?”

“Cool,” he replied.  “When I’m old enough, I am going to join.”

Hermann Goering's baton, a gift from Adolph Hitler. Goering was commander of the German air force during World War II, and was Hitler's designated successor. Hermann Goering’s baton, a gift from Adolph Hitler. Goering was commander of the German air force during World War II, and was Hitler’s designated successor. 

Obviously, he was not traumatized by anything he saw or heard. Age could be a factor, because quite a few of the combat veterans who go through the museum say they are very moved.  One of  the World War Two veterans told Columbus TV commentator Al Fleming, who works as a volunteer at the museum,  that he couldn’t go through the World War Two section of the musuem.  “It would just make me too nervous,” he said.   He probably had seen some close friends killed in battle.

Dad and son viewing 1930's machine gun carrier called a "Belly-flopper," National Infantry Museum, Columbus, GA Dad and son viewing 1930’s machine gun carrier called a “Belly-flopper,” National Infantry Museum, Columbus, GA 

Do I recommend a trip to the museum?  Should children see it?  Yes.  It is an impressive way to present the history of the infantry to adults and chidlren.  

If you haven’t been, let me recommend that you watch the short movie at the end.  It is very well done and captures the one thing that,  more than anything else, according to a lot of combat veterans,  motivates soldiers to perform truly courageous acts: the love they have for their fellow soldiers,  people  they have lived and trained with for a long time, their “family,”  “brothers” in battle.   Many Congressional Medals of Honor, the nation’s highest medal for valor,  were earned by soldiers who gave their lives to save their buddies.

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This entry was posted on August 26, 2009 at 12:02 pm and is filed under Columbus, Fort Benning, History. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. Edit this entry.

2 Responses to “The National Infantry Museum Experience”

  1. CAROLYN Says:
    August 26, 2009 at 5:28 pm | Reply   editMaybe some parents and grandparents wouldn’t want to subject a child of theirs that young to an experience that could cause him to have nightmares for a long time to come. Some of us know our 10-year-old child or grandchild hasn’t developed enough emotionally or ethically to understand that war is not “cool.” It is a horrible endeavor that human beings engage in that could maim, kill, and damage people who engage in it for the rest of their lives. What parent or grandparent would enjoy hearing a child that young say he can’t wait to get old enough to join up and go fight a war?
  2. D Wells Says:
    August 26, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Reply   editDick,

    Many people are taking children there. 5th graders from every area school are scheduled to visit the museum this school year. I took my 21 month grandson up the 100 yard ramp. He was perceptive enough to know that he was in a special place. He could sense the significance of the place by the lighting and the background music.
    He was capivated by the helicopter and the video that was running inside of it. Our time there lasted 15 minutes.
    Hopefully, he and I will make many more trips in the years to come to see the exhibits and the 2 commemorative pavers that honor his great grand fathers and their 80 years of combined service to their country.

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  1. Dutch McAllister Says:

    The Infantry museum does not glorify war. War is part of the human condition–in the words of Plato: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Trying to insulate children from that fact, as one commenter did here, is CONTEMPTIBLE ostrich-like behavior. It is an INSULT to the brave soldiers who died in combat in Vietnam, and those who died to preserve our liberties throughout our history. BAYONETS!

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