Thursday, March 4, 2010

New Orleans: D-Day Musuem

Actually, it used to be the D-Day musuem, but the correct name these days is The National World War II Musuem. The focus originally was on D-Day, as the "Higgins Boats," that were the key to the amphibious landing, were built in New Orleans. As General Eisenhower put it, "Andrew Higgins ... is the man who won the war for us. ... If Higgins had not designed and built those LCVPs, we never could have landed over an open beach. The whole strategy of the war would have been different."

The museum has expanded its focus to include other theaters of the war (including the Pacific "D-Day"), and it is not to be missed when visiting New Orleans. It is easy to forget how perilous the worldwide situation was for many years with the powerful Japanese, German, and Italian war machines threatening so many. At the start of the war, the U.S. Army was only the 18th largest in the world (behind Romania!). The exhibits were fascinating and the Tom Hanks movie "Beyond All Boundaries" should be seen by all Americans (especially school children).

To go to the musuem site, please click here .

As someone who has laid to rest many World War II veterans, I fear that the American propensity to forget will lead us to neglect and fail to appreciate the sacrifices of so many. This is history that needs to be remembered. Each man I buried had a fascinating story to tell. They may have indeed been, in Tom Brokaw's words, "the greatest generation".

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