Our World Tuesday: National Museum of the Marine Corps

We stopped at the National Museum of the Marine Corps and Heritage Center in Quantico, Virginia, on Sunday as we made our way from Connecticut to North Carolina.  The museum has been on my bucket list for as long as I've been traveling between these two places I call home.  The building towers over I-95, and I wondered what it was like from the inside out.

It's meant to take the shape of that famous Joe Rosenberg photo of the six marines raising the US flag over Iwo Jima.  I don't quite get that when I look at this structure.  I see an image of strength that won't be contained, of big dreams combined with might. (Maybe that is the same thing as the flag raising over Iwo.)
From July 29, 2012
Here's a view from the inside.  This is a big place seeking to make a big statement.  After the big statement in the main hall, here, the galleries and exhibits dig deep into this country's military engagements over the centuries by contextualizing them.  The museum tells America's story from the perspective of the marine.  It's brilliant, as I told my daugther who does not love these trips down military history lane, because it's our story.  If we don't "like" military stuff, whatever that means, we have a responsibility to ourselves to know the story.   
From July 29, 2012
From the grandeur of the main hall, we moved into World War II and bloodied up men, sandbags, and tanks.  The displays were complemented by oral histories, video, and sound tracks.   We walked out of there knowing more and feeling more.
From July 29, 2012
The display below is part of the Pearl Harbor Day exhibition.  The broken tea cup caught my daughter's eye as we listened to the news on the radio and old newsreel clips glowed behind the wallpaper of this parlor occupied by two women whose loved one was a marine.  Before we got here, though, we watched and heard the story of how Japan was expanding its empire in the East.  The attack on Pearl Harbor was a preemptive strike to protect Japan's access to its resources on various island in the orient. 
From July 29, 2012
We visited many other displays, including the climate-controlled exhibit of Korea with its dead marines in the snow.  Out we came to the main hall, where this display stopped us in our tracks. 
I asked my daughter what struck her the most.  She named Stephen Dupont's exhibit of photographic portraits of the men in one platoon serving in Afghanistan.  Dupont, a marine, was embedded with a weapons platoon in Afghanistan in 2009.  Accompanying each photo was that marine's hand-written statement of why he joined.  "So many said they joined because they thought there was nothing else for them," my daughter remarked.  It was their only chance at life, and something like a dream. 
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From July 29, 2012

Our World Tuesday

Comments

  1. What an incredible museum, Sandy! I'm so glad you had the chance to visit there and to share it with us! Your photos are wonderful and very moving!

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  2. The other day I watched a movie with Gregory Peck about how hard it was for platoons to get a hill from the Koreans.
    Today war has become so sophisticated, they don't need to fight the same way and the soldiers/marines have to be smart and very well educated people to do the job.
    But then with new technology war is something no one wants to have. It is terribly painful to watch people suffer.For a soldier it must be very gratifying to see and to know he made a difference for good.In life, tyrants still live, under different guises.

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  3. impressive, looks like you could spend lots of time in there exploring and re-experiencing history.

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  4. What a fabulous place. I had never heard of it. I am glad you brought it to my attention. I will pass this on to several of my Marine Vet friends.
    Your daughter is growing up fast.

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  5. So interesting. Glad you were able to go. Your daughter looks so sweet.

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  6. A great learning experience -- very well done museum it looks like~

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  7. This is so interesting Sandy. Lisa passed it on to me as my DH is a former Marine. He would love it...if we ever get out that way.

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  8. I wish we showed such organized valour in seeking solutions of peace. . . . though I do love the people stories and hardware of our amazing citizen military, Sandy.


    Aloha from Waikiki
    Comfort Spiral
    <(-'.'-)>

    > < } } ( ° >

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  9. What a fascinating place to visit!

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  10. Wonderful museum. There is lot to see here.

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  11. a great museum with such interesting exhibits.

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  12. Anonymous3:18 AM

    Cool museum! Love that main hall - it has such lovely light.

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  13. Great post - we (I hope) all hate the idea of war - and the more we understand of it, the less likely we are to get involved in it (I hope)

    Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

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  14. The museum looks beautiful and exciting :-)

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  15. Great tour!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  16. This post touched me very much, being married to a soldier that is currently deployed, I would have loved to see this exhibition...
    Beautiful captures dear Sandy...
    xoxo

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  17. Thanks for taking us through this beautiful museum Sandy

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  18. Wonderful photos, Sandy. Thanks for the tour!

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  19. I am reminded of my visits to various historic places with my daughters. They do have a different perspective, sometimes out of ignorance and sometimes out of innocence.

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  20. Sandy, looks like a great musuem to visit with your daughter. I have been past this place but never stopped in. Thanks for the tour. Have a great day.

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  21. That looks like a great museum. Great perception about why so many people join the military now days. I have no desire to restart the draft but it seems to me that we have outsourced our war making to people who don't think they have any other options.

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