While media have been rather quiet on the noteworthy and much overdue project, it took Hollywood actor Joe Mantegna, in an op-ed piece in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, to spotlight the planned National Museum of the United States Army, notes Grumpy Editor.
That should be welcome news for the millions who served in Army uniforms since World War II.
Mantegna, who stars in “Criminal Minds” on CBS, is the national spokesman for the campaign to build the museum.
In his WSJ piece, he points out, “Our nation has constructed a national museum for each of our military services except the Army, America’s oldest and largest service.”
He cites, “Fourteen generations of Americans have served in the U.S. Army since 1775. Thirty million men and women have proudly worn its uniform, Americans need to build a place where they may honor this long tradition of service.”
Plans are under way to build a state-of-the-art facility on 40 acres on the grounds of Fort Belvoir, Va., about a half hour drive south of Washington, D.C.
Main building will be about 175,000 square feet and display selections from among the 15,000 pieces in the Army Art Collection and 30,000 artifacts, documents and images. Nearby will be a park with memorial garden and parade ground.
The U.S. project is several decades behind Great Britain’s National Army Museum. Initial building there opened in 1971. Current facility in central London includes five floors of exhibits.
With the U.S. version now in the works, Mantegna reminds, “Without a National Army Museum, our nation risks forgetting real-life stories more profound and inspiring than anything Hollywood could dream.”