WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The National Museum of the United States Army opened to the public this Veterans Day at Fort Belvoir, less than 30 minutes from the nation’s capital.
It’s the only museum to tell the more than 245-year history of the military branch.
“This American treasure now lives,” said U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy during a virtual ceremony. “This grand opening is particularly fitting to occur on Veterans Day, where we salute the sacrifice of those that have served.”
More than 30 million American men and women have worn the Army uniform from the Revolutionary War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The Army’s history is America’s history,” said U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville. “The Army has been here since before the birth of our nation.”
Visitors can see the vehicles that broke through German lines during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, carried U.S. troops ashore on D-Day and led the 2003 charge from Kuwait to Baghdad.
“We cannot truly appreciate the sacrifice of our soldiers… unless we see the weapons they use, feel the uniforms they wear, hear the stories they told,” said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.
Milley said the extraordinary examples of ordinary people play out through other artifacts, documents, images and artwork in the museum, the majority of which have never been seen by the public, with hopes of inspiring future generations of men and women to follow in their footsteps.
“It allows all of us to connect and be forever tied to those who came before us,” he said.
Army veterans or their loved ones can submit their own stories of service through the museum’s Registry of the American Soldier.