Medal of Honor Society launches virtual tour of new museum

by W. THOMAS SMITH, JR. September 26, 2015

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The Medal of Honor Society is ramping up public awareness of its planned new Medal of Honor National Museum in a just-released video highlighting the proposed features of the museum which officials say will open in Mt. Pleasant (Charleston), S.C. in 2019.

The video - introduced by actor Gary Sinise - which aired for the first time, Sept. 17, during the Society's annual national convention in Boston, Mass., features a virtual tour of the museum's exhibits including a "fly-over" and "fly-thru" of the new museum and education center.

 

Active and Reserve servicemen as well as retired and former soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen are excited about what this museum and its exhibits will mean for all military veterans and American military culture and tradition overall.

"The Medal of Honor Museum will be a stunning showcase of one of the richest histories our nation has to offer," says S.C. native and U.S. Army 2nd Lt. William Maxwell Fowler. "This museum will serve not only to honor those who have displayed astonishing acts of bravery in defense of our nation, but will also bring to life the very essence of what makes our country's military great: Service before self."

A newly commissioned Army officer, Fowler is presently studying to become an Army physician at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, just a few miles from the site where the museum will be constructed near Patriots Point.

Lt. Col. (Promotable) Bill Connor, a decorated U.S. Army combat infantry officer (Airborne Ranger), also has strong ties to the Charleston-Mt. Pleasant area.

"Having spent my life as either a military son or soldier on bases throughout the world, this video brought about a great deal of emotion," says Connor, former senior U.S. military advisor in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. "Charleston was always my 'hometown' while moving, and the place I came back to visit throughout my life. Whether as a cadet at The Citadel or visiting my retired military grandfather, I always found Charleston to be the most historic, patriotic and pro-military place in America."

Connor adds, "One of my fondest early memories was visiting the USS Yorktown shortly after the ship was retired to Charleston. I can't think of a better place to honor our nation's Medal of Honor heroes than next to the stunning landscape near the Yorktown in Charleston Harbor."

Bob Wilburn, CEO of the National Medal of Honor Museum, agrees.

"Visitors will experience a museum and education center that makes personal and emotional connections to recipients, events and the ideals and values that the Medal represents," says Wilburn. "We want to inform, engage and ultimately inspire visitors - especially our youth - to appreciate the meaning and price of freedom and our shared responsibilities as citizens in a democracy.  We want them to make connections between the incredible values that have contributed to success on the battlefield and how they live their own lives, both today and in the future."

The video concludes with commentary by Maj. Gen. James Livingston, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), who received the Medal for his extraordinary actions and leadership while (then a captain) commanding Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines during the bloody battle of Dai Do, Vietnam in 1968.

"This is a time for us to influence; to really make young people feel that they can contribute," says Livingston. "So if we do that, like I say, we've accomplished the mission."

The cost to build the new museum and education center is estimated at $98 million.  

The Medal of Honor - often (somewhat erroneously) referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor - is America's highest military award for combat valor.

W. Thomas Smith Jr. - a former U.S. Marine rifleman - is a military analyst and partner with NATIONAL DEFENSE CONSULTANTS, LLC. Visit him at http://uswriter.com.



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