Easily accessible in downtown New Orleans, the National WWII Museum (http://www.nationalww2museum.org/visit/index.html) provides a personal and educational view of America’s participation in WWII and the individuals of the greatest generation whose stories reside there. The museum opened on June 6, 2000—the 56th anniversary of D-Day and currently fills 3 buildings, and is growing. Nearly half a million visitors experienced the museum in 2014.
The museum successfully combines the big picture—events leading up to America entering the war, American leadership and decision-making, hour-by-hour accounts of the D-Day invasion, the Pacific conflict; weaponry, planes, and boats of that era; and countless moving personal stories and artifacts—photographs, uniforms, letters, medals. This is an emotional and powerful museum—filled with personal stories and voices, through interviews and newsreels of the time. It feels like no room is empty—the Veterans’ voices and presence are everywhere.
If you’re asking yourself why this museum is in New Orleans, it’s because that’s the home of Higgins Industries, makers of the LCVP landing craft—the key element in the amphibious assaults of WWII. So important was the role of these landing craft that Dwight Eisenhower credited Andrew Jackson Higgins with being “the man who won the war for us.”
To hear the stories of individuals who were part of WWII, go to http://www.ww2online.org/browse and read what these Veterans and others have to say in short, filmed statements and interviews.
And it’s worth a trip to New Orleans just to spend several hours in this truly exceptional museum.