What do you know about Family Midwest Military Memorials and Museums? Are your children curious about their relatives that are in the military? Do they want to learn about the meaning of Memorial Day? How about other days honoring our veterans? The history of the United States cannot be told without the military.
Spring is a good time to learn about the military history of the United States. Memorial Day originally honored the men and women who sacrificed their lives for the country in time of war.
Since the battle for independence began in 1776, the United States military has seen action in several wars. That includes the Civil War, World War I, World War II, through today’s conflicts.
The Midwest is home to outstanding museums and memorials where you can learn about citizens’ roles during conflict. Here’s a look at them from around the region.
Unique Midwest Military Memorials and Museums to Visit as a Family
Visit the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial in Springfield. It’s a great way to honor men and women who gave their lives for the nation during the Vietnam War. Designed with five 15-foot-tall black granite walls, each wall contains the name of the nearly 3,000 people who died.
Five branches of the military – Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy – are recognized with their emblem on each wall. Illinoisans still listed as prisoners of war or missing in action have their names inscribed on gray granite stones. An eternal flame honors the Vietnam veterans.
While in Springfield, stop at the Illinois State Military Museum. Learn about the state’s involvement in each war, beginning with the Civil War. Exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia, such as tanks, weapons, and uniforms, showcase the state’s National Guard in action.
Indiana Family Midwest Military Memorials and Museums
Downtown Indianapolis is home to several military memorials. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument anchors the war memorials. Located downtown, the obelisk tower rises to more than 230 feet high. It also includes an observation tower, with a magnificent view of the Indianapolis area. At the foot of the monument is a civil war museum.
Nearby, the Indiana War Memorial Museum is a neoclassical-designed building honoring men and women who served during World War I. Inside the three-floor building, a museum recognizes flags and memorabilia from around the world. The museum also focuses on the Battle of Tippecanoe. Stop by the Battle Ground, Indiana for more on the historical events that took place during the Battle of Tippecanoe.
The historic district also includes the Veterans Memorial Plaza. Completed in 1930, the park features a 100-foot-tall obelisk tower and water fountain. The tree-lined plaza also includes state flags that look beautiful when they wave in the wind.
Along the downtown canal, you’ll find the Medal of Honor Memorial. With almost 3,500 names, recipients from more than 15 military conflicts are recognized on translucent curved walls. Also located along the canal is the USS Indianapolis National Memorial.
During a secret mission to deliver the first atomic bomb to bomb Hiroshima, Japan. However, a torpedo hit the USS Indianapolis and sank it in the Pacific theater. About 900 of the 1,200 sailors made it into the water. A few days later, 316 survivors were pulled from the water.
Iowa Family Midwest Military Memorials and Museums
Named for the Sullivan brothers, five siblings who perished as their World War II cruiser sank in the Pacific Ocean after being hit by a Japanese torpedo. Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum honors all Iowans who served in the military.
Brothers’ story is believed to be the inspiration for the movie “Saving Private Ryan.”
Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum traces the family’s story. It includes sculptures of the men, as well as an exhibit depicting their mother’s living room.
The museum showcases the heroism and service of Iowa men and women through each military conflict in which the United States has been engaged, from the Civil War through recent Middle Eastern conflicts. It also hosts special exhibits involving events related to Iowa.
Another attraction to visit in the Hawkeye State is the Freedom Rock. Created by western Iowa artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II. Sorensen paints new scenes each year honoring veterans on a large rock near Greenwood, just off Interstate 80. Freedom Rock began because he wanted to show his appreciation for people who serve the country.
This attraction became so popular that Sorensen asked to paint a Freedom Rock in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.
Kansas Family Museums
Look at the Army’s role in the westward expansion of the United States! The Frontier Army Museum at Fort Leavenworth features exhibits dating back to the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804.
The museum also serves as part of a professional developmental education program for active-duty soldiers.
You’ll visit exhibits highlighting western transportation, such as a stagecoach and covered wagon, led by soldiers on horseback. Military equipment on display includes weapons, such as cannons and rifles, as well as uniforms through the years.
Wichita played a major role during World War II, churning out more than 1,600 B-29 bombers for the Army Air Force. Using a civilian workforce consisting mainly of women, nicknamed “Rosie the Riveter,” the Wichita factory turned out several B-29 bombers.
You will find working B-29, nicknamed “Doc,” flying around the country as a fundraiser for the B-29 group. It helps share the plane’s role during World War II. You’ll find several B-29 exhibits as well as the story of how “Doc” came to be. You may also meet a former “Rosie the Riveter,” who serves as a volunteer at the center.
Michigan Family Midwest Military Memorials and Museums
With a mission to Respect andRespect its veterans, the Michigan Heroes Museum features almost 150 displays and 850 exhibits. From planes and tanks to uniforms, equipment, and documents, the museum recognizes the role Michigan men and women have served in the military and space program.
This Museum showcases tributes to governors, 16 astronauts, and 31 Medal of Honor recipients, who have called the state home. Located in Frankenmuth, the museum is about a 90-minute drive north of Detroit.
More than 22,000 Minnesotans served in the Union army during the Civil War. Veterans make up about seven percent of the state’s population. Minnesotans have stepped up to serve their nation. It travels from the Civil War to World War and World War II, as well as the Middle Eastern conflicts, .
The Minnesota Military Museum at Camp Ripley in Little Falls near Saint Cloud recognizes brave men and women. With military uniforms, weapons, and vehicles – tanks and aircraft – the museum features a look at the lives of those who volunteered for military service, as well as those who were drafted into duty.
Missouri Family Midwest Military Memorials and Museums
This museum is the National World War I Museum and Memorial. Here the visitors can witness the war from the days leading up to the first shot through Nov. 11, 1918, when the war ended on the 11th day of the 11th month. With authentic artifacts, such as cannons, uniforms, and propaganda posters, the museum offers a realistic look at the war.
Look into the trenches soldiers dug for protection during battle. Watch a fascinating short film that uses interactive displays to tell the war’s story. Outside, you can stand on the plaza and enjoy a panoramic view of the Kansas City skyline. You can also climb the steps of a tower for an even more interesting view of the area.
The 20th Century Veterans Memorial in North Platte is one of the best veterans memorials in the country! It recognizes the men and women who have served in the military’s five branches. With sculptures and a walk of honor recognizing each branch, the memorial also includes a 15-foot tall wall featuring images from military conflicts.
You’ll also find a sculpture honoring the women who volunteered their time as part of the North Platte Canteen during World War II, who served coffee and treats to about six million military members traveling through the area.
In South Sioux City, Freedom Park is home to a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. The park honors people who have served in the military also plans to recognize veterans from the Korean War, as well as all other military conflicts.
North Dakota Sites
A remnant of the Cold War tells the story of America’s nuclear missile arsenal. A former missile launch control center, formerly known as Oscar Zero, is home to the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site.
Learn about the role of the men and women who served in a variety of roles – from security to launch officers – as well as the history of the Minuteman missile and the Cold War.
Located near Cooperstown, about an hour north of Valley City, the missile site was part of a missile field consisting of 15 total control centers and covered an area the size of New Jersey. A few miles south of the Oscar Zero is a former missile site, nicknamed November 31. It once housed a Minuteman missile.
And if you drive by a town of Aberdeen in South Dakota, find a way to visit Aberdeen Railroad Depot that served the best sandwiches to soldiers during World War II.
Ohio Family Midwest Military Memorials and Museums
Home to the world’s largest military aircraft collection, the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton is home to more than 350 aircraft and missiles. Housed in four large hangars at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the museum tells the story of the Air Force, as well as flight, from the days of gliders to modern fighter jets and bombers.
You’ll find exhibits showcasing aircraft used in various military conflicts, as well as flight simulators.
South Dakota Museum
Featuring a view of 30 vintage aircraft, as well as contemporary planes such as the B-1 bomber, the South Dakota Air and Space Museum near Rapid City offers a look into the history of the Air Force. As you tour the facility, take a look at the Air Force’s early days, including its role during the Cold War, as well as aerospace exhibits about engineering and more.
Outdoor attractions include several aircraft, such as a B-29 Superfortress, C-131, and FB-111. The museum is also home to the South Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame. While admission to the museum is free, visitors can sign-up for a tour of neighboring Ellsworth Air Force Base for a small fee.
As a Smithsonian-affiliated museum, Kenosha’s Civil War Museum shares the stories of the men from the upper Midwest – Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana – who served in the Union army. Nearly half of the men who served in the 2.1 million-member army came from these six states.
Exhibits are based on the journals and letters of soldiers to their families. From a movie about soldiers’ experiences in a 360-degree theater to displays that appear lifelike, the Civil War Museum offers a realistic look into the war. It will rank as one of the best military history museums you’ll visit.
Who Should Visit Midwest Military Memorials and Museums?
From the early days of America through a war that split in the country in half, Americans have served the nation in world wars and regional conflicts.
Visit a local veteran’s memorial or military museum to understand the love people have for their country. Understand the willingness to sacrifice their lives in military action.
These military memorials and museums in the Midwest are great for anyone interested in the history of the United States! Learn the history of the military!