QUANTCO, Va. -
Each week, 8News Meteorologist Tim Pandajis explores different day trip spots in our area; you can get to most of them on just a tank a gas! This week, Tim visited the National Museum of the United States Marine Corps in Quantico.
Opened in 2006, the museum has hosted over 3 million visitors. Its commanding presence and immense size offers the public insight into the life and history of the United States Marine Corps. Another reason to visit? It's free!
Public Affairs Chief Gwenn Adams said, "Right now we tell the story of the Marine Corps from its birth in 1775 through the end of the Vietnam War until about 1976. We talk about Korea, World War One, World War Two, Vietnam, even the Revolutionary and Civil War." The United States Marine Corps was formed in 1775; a wall at the museum stretching hundreds of feet in both directions depicts its history since the 18th century.
"For us, in Virginia, how do we tell the story of the Civil War and make it new? Well, we told it through the eyes of the Marines. Because Marines fought on both sides,” explained Chief Adams.
The museum is filled with life-sized replicas molded from actual living marines. During the Pacific campaign in World War II, there were two flags raised on top of Mt. Suribachi, the museum houses one of them. It is one of the museum’s most prized artifacts.\
The museum means so much to so many; its a place for the younger generation of America to come and learn what it takes to be a Marine, and for current or former Marines to reflect on the past. One thing that is certainly shared by all who visit is that they leave having an even greater appreciation for those who wear the uniform of this country.
Chief Adams reflected on one of the moving scenes she hears frequently at the museum. I was coming back into the museum one day and there were four men walking out. Well, two young boys, a man probably in his sixties and then an older man and the kids are running around like ‘Pap, Pap, this is so cool,’ and the man who was in his sixties stopped and turned to his dad and said, "Thanks dad, I had no idea." That’s what this museum is all about, it's about telling the stories of every hero who has served and about telling the story of U.S. and world history through the eyes of the Marines.”
Master Gunnery Sgt. Matthew ‘Mark’ Manieri agrees."The museum means to me as a Marine means everything that the history of the Corps represents. Obviously we've been around almost 239 years and every facet of the Marine Corps from the beginning to current, present day is what this museum stands for." Right now the museum covers the history of the Marines through 1976, but there is a whole new generation of stories to tell, the museum plans on breaking ground on an 89,000 foot expansion in 2015 to offer its visitors an even more memorable experience.