Commentary Magazine


Why No Museum to Honor Soldiers?

Ralph Peters raises an excellent point in the New York Post today: Why is there a new museum in Washington to honor journalists (called the Newseum) but not one to honor the armed forces? There is, of course, some focus on military history at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History. But there is nothing in Washington like London’s Imperial War Museum or Canberra’s Australian War Memorial—both enthralling institutions that I have been lucky enough to wander through in the past year or so. They provide a perspective that neither documentaries nor history books can offer by allowing visitors to see the actual equipment used by combatants and even to experience reenactments of actual battles.

The closest that Washington has is the new National Museum of the Marine Corps. But it’s located at Quantico, Virginia, and while it is a first-rate piece of work (as good in its own way as the Imperial War Museum), it is devoted to only one of the military services. It is well past time for there to be an American Military Museum—or better still (because less politically correct) an American War Museum—in our nation’s capital.