I won’t lie, I’m a big history geek and spending some quality time in the museum is something I occasionally enjoy doing. Besides which, admission is free, and there’s really no beating that. I walked in through the Civil War displays, back beyond the Grand Army of the Republic veteran’s paraphernalia, and into the modestly sized but well-designed display.
Things I learned:
- Half of all combat deaths in
occurred in I Corps (the five northernmost provinces of the country). Vietnam
- History is in the eye of the propagandist: there’s a photo of three or four men crouched down to say prayers with a gaunt chaplain before a major battle. All of these men survived the fight. In a war museum in
, the same photograph can be found, but the caption states that all of the men shown were killed. Vietnam
- When the war first started, the NVA weren’t quite sure what to make of all the helicopters the
was using. Eventually, however, they learned to exploit their greatest weakness—need for a landing zone—and the US ended up losing a huge number of them during the course of the war. US troops thought that the ace symbol in a pack of cards meant death and bad luck to the Vietnamese and would leave these cards on NVA soldiers they’d killed. The belief was incorrect. US
There’s a replica of a firebase bunker in the exhibit, too, and I was both pleased and amused to see a vintage copy of Playboy sitting out, the same issue that three GIs are looking at in a photo posted nearby. This was especially funny because I’d just watched a group of young, rambunctious schoolchildren go through the display. Ah, education!
The most striking aspect of the exhibit, at least for me, was the book the museum had left out for visiting
I finished up at the exhibit and wandered on through the rest of the museum—past the World Wars,
(photo credit: WDVA)