See courage up close and personal at a one-of-a-kind veterans museum
Celebrate Veterans Day in Columbus, Home to Only Museum in America That Honors All Veterans
The National Veterans Memorial and Museum takes visitors on a narrative journey, sharing the personal stories of veterans as you progress through the various stages a veteran would, from taking the oath of enlistment to attending basic training and from deploying to returning home and reintegrating as a civilian. At this unique museum, history is presented through a dynamic, participatory experience with photos, letters and personal effects, multi-media presentations and interactive exhibits. On Veterans Day, visitors are invited to participate in an annual commemorative ceremony to honor the contributions of veterans.
The history of the museum goes back to former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn who was the visionary behind the $82 million project that opened in October 2018 after six years of planning and construction. One of the primary focus areas of the museum in addition to educating the public is to serve veterans. They do this by offering year-round resources and programs, including Jiu Jitsu, yoga and art classes, as well as a space to hear other veterans’ stories through their Veteran Voices program.
Experience other unique military museums
Other Veterans Day experiences visitors can have while in Columbus include visiting Motts Military Museum, whose mission is to share artifacts and recount their history through the stories of those who witnessed them firsthand while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Exhibits range from ones focusing on the Revolutionary War to World War II and from the Vietnam War to Dessert Storm. Visitors can see uniforms, weapons, military aircraft, tanks, boats and armored vehicles from past wars up close in an intimate setting. In a hanger outside, visitors can see larger artifacts such as a fire truck from the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Pay your respects at the Ohio Veterans Plaza
Not far from the National Veterans Memorial and Museum downtown is the Ohio Statehouse. On the Capitol grounds, visitors can stop by the Ohio Veterans Plaza, which honors Ohio veterans from World War II to the present. Limestone walls feature inscribed letters with moving messages from veterans who depict being at concentration camps, being injured during combat, missing their children’s milestones and spending holidays apart from loved ones.
The inspiration for the plaza is rooted in an act of civil disobedience. In 1981, two Vietnam veterans erected under the cover of night on the Capitol grounds a hand painted four-by-eight-foot sheet of plywood as a tribute to veterans of the Vietnam War. The two were to be charged with trespassing and destruction of state property until then-State Senator Richard Pfeiffer, intervened. Pfeiffer, also a Vietnam veteran, convinced officials to allow the handmade monument to stand for a period of time. Shortly after, the Ohio legislature passed a bill to install a permanent veteran’s monument.
Support local veteran-owned businesses
In addition to these experiences, visitors to Columbus will also find a thriving community of veteran-owned businesses, providing a unique opportunity to support and connect with local entrepreneurs who have served in the armed forces. Some of the local businesses include Crew Supply Co., which creates high-quality barware and infusion kits, and Jump Start Java, which provides barista-style gourmet coffee for businesses.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in Columbus this fall, visit www.experiencecolumbus.com/fall.