Jun 29, 2016
A couple weekends ago we took the kids to the National Infantry Museum. When we lived in Columbus before, this was a frequent stop for us because, air conditioning and wide open spaces. Ace was almost two at the time and Pierce was just a wee little babe. They had no idea why we were there or what anything was. They went because we went. But this museum is unlike any other I have ever been to. For starters the building is absolutely gorgeous, and that is before you even step in the doors. The last time we went they were working on a lot of the exhibits, so we were anxious to see if they were open. Fort Benning being the home of the Infantry make this place that much more special. Families, soldiers, loved ones, all come here to pay their respects, gain knowledge, walk through history, and just feel humble and proud.
I don't really talk about military stuff on this blog because as much as the Army may control our lives at times, it is not my life. That does not make me any less supportive of what Chris does, or any less proud. I simply am not knowledgeable about a lot of topics that other military wives are because I am truly not involved a lot. I am a behind the scenes kind of gal.
But when you walk into a place like this museum you cannot help but be overwhelmed with emotion. From the moment you approach the first exhibit with the music and the voices, you get goosebumps.
There is footage being played on various things that captures your full attention. Even my very unruly children were mesmerized at the things going on around them. Saying things like "dad, that's an army guy just like you". Or "hey dad, you have that uniform". My kids are obviously too young to grasp the concept of what Chris does, where he has deployed to, or what he goes off for training for. But somehow in this museum they were a little quieter, walked a little slower, would randomly grab and hold on to Chris' hand.
For me this place is kind of like a walk down memory lane. I met Chris a few months after he graduated basic training. I have been there for the last eleven years as he went from one school to the next, which the museum takes you through each and every one of those phases. They explain every step that an infantry solider goes through. Which for the kids was so cool. They would ask "dad! did you have to do that too?". It was so cute.
The museum is divided into rooms that take you through different eras of which the infantry were involved. The exhibits are so interactive, and amazing for kids. I wouldn't say that if my kids were even the slightest bit disrespectful. But, they loved looking at everything, touching the screens, pressing the buttons, and listening to all the people talking. I mean....they did move a little quick through things, but we spent a solid two hours here and they were a-okay!
It is a little weird to see a large exhibit dedicated to a war that your husband deployed to. Reading the same headlines that you saw splashed across your TV screen at the time. Hearing soldiers voices as they talk about their time deployed, which echoed some of the same stories you heard when your husband and his friends came home.
After we made it through the museum we wanted to go outside and walk the path called Heritage Walk that is made up of pavers dedicated to soldiers. This leads you to the Vietnam Memorial. As we were walking there was a woman standing there with a picture frame and a rose in her hand. We had the kids walk the other direction in order to give her some privacy. As we walked back we passed the spot where she was standing, and there was a wedding picture and a rose laying on the ground with a note that said "Happy 50 year Anniversary". The tears could not be held back.
This is truly such an amazing place whether you have any connection to the military or not. If you are ever near the Columbus, GA area I highly recommend that you stop at this museum. Make a donation, have lunch at the restaurant, and take it all in.