New Home of the Brave

What It Means to be The New Home of the Brave

One year ago, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum opened as the nation’s first and only museum dedicated to telling the story of the Veteran experience. In that time, we’ve shared stories of service and sacrifice from Veterans across all branches of the military in periods of both war and peace. And we’ve shown the world that we are more than a museum – we are the New Home of the Brave

Since opening our doors, we have welcomed nearly 60,000 visitors – from Veterans and their families, to students on school tours, to non-Veterans of all ages, as well as business and community leaders. Hundreds of guests have marked significant events at the Museum, ranging from a rooftop Memorial Day remembrance ceremony to a Veteran Voices panel featuring firsthand experiences from a D-Day Veteran. And still others have joined us for more intimate experiences, like our monthly Rally Point breakfast gatherings for local Veterans or our members-only events.

…Where Thousands Come to Remember & Reflect.

…Where Meaningful Connections are Made.

For both Veterans and non-Veterans alike, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum provides a platform to begin important conversations about what it means to serve our nation and commit to something larger than yourself.

…Where Our Freedom Unites Us.

The National Veterans Memorial and Museum is a powerful reminder that freedom is never free. At this point in our nation’s history, less than one percent of the population is serving in the military. The stories of Veterans told through the museum demonstrate the power of people coming together for the good of our nation. There is so much more that bonds Americans than divides us.

…Where Our Community Shines.

None of this would be possible without the vision of the late Senator John Glenn and the leadership of the Columbus community who stepped up to create this national treasure. It is fitting that the National Veterans Memorial and Museum is located in Columbus, near the center of the country and within a day’s drive of more than 50 percent of the population.

…Where We Can Impact Millions.

Through our mission to Honor, Connect, Inspire and Educate, we are on an incredible trajectory to touch and impact the lives of millions. And there’s a role for everyone to play as we continue to share our Veterans’ stories – whether that means becoming a member, volunteering one’s time or making a donation to honor a loved one. How will you give back to those who’ve given so much for our country?

Ernie

Why I Volunteer: Tour Guide Ernie Hartong

Ask Ernie Hartong why he volunteers at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum and he’ll tell you about the rewarding opportunities he’s had meeting Veterans and hearing their stories firsthand. Powerful stories like the one Don Srail, a 93-year-old Navy Veteran, recorded at the museum about his time in WWII.

Here’s Ernie reflecting on his encounter with Don:

Don was visiting the museum with his family. After giving them a “mini-tour” and answering some questions, I asked Don if he would like to go downstairs and record his story. He replied, “I think I would like to do that very much – and tell you about the bravest man I ever knew.”

Don was stationed at Subic Bay, in the Philippines in 1945, following the re-taking of the islands. As he tells it, “I was an 18-year-old kid who knew everything.” His job was on the ferry that took Filipino workers and U.S. sailors from the base to the USS Langley. There was an older Filipino gentleman who always sat on the prow of the ferry and no one ever spoke to him. Don, being a pretty talkative guy, couldn’t understand this situation so he asked one of the other workers why no one spoke to this gentleman.

Don recalls, “They told me it was out of respect. This man’s son, a Filipino Scout, and a U.S. Army Sergeant had spent years in the mountains of Luzon after the fall of the Philippines to Japanese forces in 1942. The pair would radio Japanese troop movements and positions to U.S. forces. They would occasionally sneak into the village to the father’s house for supplies. The Japanese knew of their existence but could not apprehend them. Someone in the village informed the Japanese that the man was the guerrilla’s father. The Japanese took the man prisoner and conducted a long and torturous interrogation. At one point, cutting off the man’s nose. However, he refused to give them any information. So, here is this man, with a hole in his face where his nose should be.”

At this point in the story, Don, understandably, became pretty emotional.

“Here was a man, who had endured so much, who was now helping the U.S. Navy to finish the job and bring freedom back to his country. I knew then, this was the bravest man I would ever know, and I saluted him each day on that ferry.”

Ernie says he feels very fortunate to have been present that day and hear Don’s story. We are extremely grateful to both men for helping preserve the memories of America’s Greatest Generation. Don’s story was recorded in our onsite story booth – a unique museum feature that makes moments like this possible every day at the museum.

Want to Help Share Our Veterans Stories?

The National Veterans Memorial and Museum relies on dedicated volunteers, like Ernie, to fulfill our mission every day. Not only do volunteers get the privilege of meeting Veterans and their families firsthand, but they also enjoy rewarding museum benefits. Check out our many volunteer opportunities to see how you can help. We’re always looking for individuals with a heart for giving back.

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D-Day Presenter Panel

Remembering D-Day: 75 Years Later

On June 6, 1944, the Allies invaded the beaches of Normandy, France in World War II’s historic Operation Overlord. The largest invasion that ever assembled, 156,000 Allied troops stormed the coast by sea and air to fight Nazi Germany. Thousands of lives were lost in this significant battle that is credited with beginning the end of the war in Europe.

At the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, we proudly honor the brave men and women of D-Day every day – but especially on its anniversary. Their incredible stories are like nothing you’ll read about in a history book and a powerful reminder of what it means to serve.

This year to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the museum hosted a special Veteran Voices panel featuring Staff Sergeant Don Jakeway and fellow WWII Veterans Jack Welsh and Carl Strout. Jakeway, who parachuted behind enemy lines just before the Normandy landings, shared his heroic story of survival. Audience members listened attentively as Jakeway reflected on the mission and reverently rose to their feet at the end to give all of the courageous men a standing ovation.

If you weren’t able to attend the anniversary event, you can visit the museum and discover the stories of Jakeway, Welsh and Strout in our permanent “Service and Citizenship Gallery.” Here, themes focus on the emotional experience of being called to serve one’s country.

And be sure to check out our Events Calendar for upcoming opportunities to honor our Veterans and hear their stories firsthand.

WEDS-SUN 10 A.M. - 5 P.M.
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