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National Medal of Honor Museum breaks ground in Texas

An artist's rendering of the National Medal of Honor Museum, which is set to open in late 2024.
Photo courtesy of the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation
An artist's rendering of the National Medal of Honor Museum, which is set to open in late 2024.

The National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation broke ground Friday on its future home in Arlington, Texas, with recipients and national leaders in attendance.

More than 40 million Americans have served in the U.S. military since the Civil War. Fewer than 4,000 have been awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award for valor. A new museum in Arlington, Texas, seeks to tell those veterans’ stories and encourage visitors to reflect on the values the Medal represents.

The groundbreaking was attended in person by 15 Medal of Honor recipients who earned their Medals during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan — including the country’s last living World War II recipient, 98-year-old Woody Williams.

Gen. Mark Milley, the 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was among a group of national leaders to put a shovel to the soil for the groundbreaking.

“These stories of selfless service deserve a permanent home,” Milley said. “Visitors will come to understand the meaning and price of freedom and appreciate the virtue of putting service before self.”

According to a release from the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation, the museum will feature interactive experiences as well as memorabilia. It will also house an institute dedicated to “modeling leadership curriculum after the valor and values of Medal of Honor recipients.”

“The values of the Medal — courage, sacrifice, patriotism, citizenship, integrity, and commitment — unite us all as Americans. I, like so many other recipients, wear this Medal on behalf of all those we fought alongside in defense of our nation. Today’s groundbreaking is a significant moment. The National Medal of Honor Museum will exist to bring the nation together to reflect upon these enduring ideals,” said Medal of Honor recipient Lt. Col. Will Swenson.

The museum, located in the heart of Arlington’s entertainment district, is set to open in late 2024. It will eventually be accompanied by a Medal of Honor monument in Washington, D.C.

The ceremony also featured a military flyover by the 301st Fighter Wing from Joint Base Fort Worth; video tributes voiced by Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey; as well as performances by a Marine Corps silent drill team, the U.S. Air Force Band of the West, and the U.S. Naval Academy Glee Club.

The Military Desk at Texas Public Radio is made possible in part by North Park Lincoln and Rise Recovery.

Carson Frame was Texas Public Radio's military and veterans' issues reporter from July 2017 until March 2024.