POINT PLEASANT — A Point Pleasant native is a founding sponsor of the The Army Historical Foundation (AHF) which is working to create a national landmark and educational destination to represent the Army.
Jeffery D. Rife reported the AHF is spearheading the $200 million effort to tell the storied history of the nation’s Army by building the National Museum of the United States Army at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, just south of Washington, D.C.
Rife explained AHF has already broken ground on the 188,000 foot educational destination and national landmark and will open its doors on June 14, 2019 the Army’s 244th Birthday.
Rife was the first soldier honored by the AHF in their 2018 calendar for his outstanding service to this nation.
The Army is the nation’s oldest and largest military service yet it is the only one without a National Museum, explained Rife. He said the growing momentum behind AHF’s campaign to construct this tribute to the service and sacrifice of the 30 million men and women who have worn the Army uniform since 1775 is long overdue and deserves wide ranging attention and support.
Rife shared the museum will be a state-of-the-art facility featuring interactive and engaging exhibits and galleries. The soldier stories gallery will feature personal accounts from soldiers of all generations. The Fighting for the Nation Galleries will tell of the Army’s remarkable stories of triumphant sacrifice from the first shots of the Revolutionary War and difficult years of the Civil War to the overseas wartime service of the last century and the current Global War on Terrorism, said Rife. The Army and Society Gallery, a gallery unlike any in the other service museums, explained Rife, will depict the interaction between the Army and its citizens including how the Army has helped advance the nation culturally, socially, scientifically, and technologically. External features include a memorial garden, amphitheater, parade ground, and the Army Trail and outdoor area that features a GSTEM (Geography, Science, Technology, Engineering, Math learning lab, interactive stations, trail side exhibits, and a multipurpose area.
Rife commented a project of this magnitude and national significance requires the encouragement and involvement of the nation.
For those interested in helping to share the story of the United States Army and honor soldiers and Army veterans there are many ways to get involved, Rife explained. Grassroots volunteers assist the campaign by promoting the museum within their own organizations and by reaching out to their local government and businesses. Donation opportunities to fund the museum and its comprehensive educational exhibits are also available both to individual donations and corporate giving programs, Rife explained.
“We are growing a nationwide network of grassroots volunteers and each volunteer has found his or her own way to advocate for the National Army Museum,” explained Beth Schultz Seaman, AHF’s director of grassroots development.
The volunteers assist with AHF’s mission to reach millions of citizens and Army veterans to share the good news about the Museum and to ask for their support to make the Museum a reality, said Rife.
He explained supporters are also able to spotlight friends and relatives in the museum’s Registry of the American Soldier which shares personal stories of soldiers from all eras noting their lives, accomplishments, and selfless service. The soldiers registry is free and the entries will be on permanent display at the museum. All soldiers registry entries are available now on the website and shared weekly on social media, explained Rife. To add a soldier story to the Registry please visit the following link: https://armyhistory.org/the-registry-of-the-american-soldier/.
Another way to honor a soldier or special Army unit is to purchase a commemorative black granite brick that will line the Museums Path of Remembrance, said Rife. Bricks can have three or six lines of customizable text and will serve as a lasting legacy on the museum grounds. Visit the following link to purchase a brick: https://armyhistory.org/bricks/.
Rife explained the AHF establishes, assists, and promotes programs and projects which preserve the history of the American soldier and promote public understanding of and appreciation for the contributions by all components of the U.S. Army and its members. The foundation serves as the Army’s official fundraising entity for the Capital Campaign for the National Museum of United States Army. For more information about the foundation, the National Museum of United States Army and the soldiers registry, visit www.Armyhistory.org.
Jeffery D. Rife contributed information for this article.