The Veterans Memorial Museum is hard to miss, with a full-size World War II P-51 Mustang Fighter Plane displayed right off Highway 76 in Branson. But what’s inside is even better.
The Veterans Memorial Museum is an incredible collection of more than 2,000 exhibits featuring historical artifacts, real photographs and the life stories of those who sacrificed everything for their country.
Walking through this museum is really bitter sweet, especially if you take the time to stop and read all the personal stories of the people who spent years away from their families or gave their lives to earn the freedom that we all so enjoy here in America.
The museum takes visitors on a tour through history, with ten different rooms dedicated to World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War. The artifacts in each room range from field kits and guns to uniforms, musical instruments, equipment worn by carrier pigeons and so much more.
While I was walking through the museum, two older gentleman approached me with curiosity, asking if I was interested in all this “war stuff.” I laughed and told them I was interested as well as on the clock. They visited with me for a good 30 minutes and told me all about their experiences at war. Both were veterans and one had served in Vietnam, where he was critically injured and sent home after treatment.
It was fascinating to talk to two men who had been in their early 20s when they took up arms to fight for America and had lived through many of the things that some of the exhibits in the museum detailed. Talking to someone who had lived through all that made the stories of tragedy, triumph and courage that lined the walls even more personal.
The highlight of my visit was probably the huge bronze memorial sculpture surrounded by more than 500,000 names of all those who perished in the wars that spanned the 73 years between 1918-1991.
It was an awe-inspiring experience and if you haven’t taken the time to stop by the Branson Veterans Memorial Museum I would definitely do so.
The museum is at 1250 W. Hwy. 76, Branson, next to Branson United Methodist Church and just a quarter mile from Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater. Hours of operation are Sunday-Monday 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
For more information, visit www.veteransmemorialbranson.com.