Saturday, February 15, 2014

Semper Fi

Semper Fidelis (“Always Faithful” or “Always Loyal") is well known as the motto of the U.S. Marine Corps, shortened to Semper Fi in Marine contexts.

This week we saw what that motto means when we visited the National Museum of the Marine Corps. The museum is in Triangle, VA on a 135-acre site adjacent to Marine Corps Base Quantico and serves as a tribute to past, present and future U.S. Marines. 

In this nearly 120,000 square foot building, scenes of major events in American history are shown from the perspective of Marines who participated.

The museum is under the command of the Marine Corps University, a group of accredited higher-education schools at Quantico, VA. In the late 1980s, Congress authorized each service branch to develop its own national centers to house and interpret their history for the American public. The Commandant of the Marine Corps agreed to the public/private venture created to develop the Museum in 1997. Construction began in 2004 and was completed in 2006.

The Museum is clearly visible from surrounding areas by its signature 210-foot stainless steel spire. This soaring skyward design is symbolic of the iconic flag-raising on Iwo Jima by U.S. Marines. Other interpretations include swords at salute, aircraft climbing to the skies or a howitzer at the ready. 

The Making Marines Gallery presents the unique experience of boot camp where enlistees are transformed into Marines.
In exhibit galleries, the use of multimedia technology takes visitors onto the beach at Iwo Jima, through a frigid winter Korean night on watch against possible attack, and into a hot Vietnam “LZ” (landing zone). Combining artifacts, such as the original flag raised on Iwo Jima, with documentary films, combat art, and recordings of Marines telling their own stories, the galleries recount the wartime experiences of many U.S. Marines.

Among the over 1,000 artifacts displayed are planes, tanks, weapons, vehicles, and uniforms. Interactive exhibits immerse visitors in the sights and sounds of Marines from enlistment to battle. Future expansion to over 200,000 square feet will add more exhibit galleries, large-screen theater, art gallery and studio, displays, and classrooms.

The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation raised donations to pay for the $60 million vertical construction of the building The Marine Corps used appropriated funds to pay for the design and fabrication of the exhibit space, about $30 million. The estate of Alfred Lerner was the single largest donor with over $10 million. Lerner, a former Marine Corps pilot, was a billionaire banking and real estate investor and owner of the Cleveland Browns pro football team. 

If you want to visit. The National Museum of the Marine Corps is located off I-95, 36 miles south of Washington, DC, and 76 miles north of Richmond, VA. It's open 9:00 a.m. to 5: 00 p.m. daily except Christmas Day. Museum admission is FREE. Guides throughout the museum (former U.S. Marines) are helpful and knowledgeable about the collections.


Montanagirl said...

Now that's an impressive museum! Lots of history and events depicted in it.

Ginnie said...

I wouldn't do well there. WWII is still traumatic for me ... too many sad memories.

Sandra said...

my hubby would love this for all those planes in the ceiling. i love the photo bottom left in second collage... it is good they have this to show others what went before.

L. D. said...

I didn't know that it existed. It would be an interesting place to see. I never knew what semper fi meant before now. Thanks.

William Kendall said...

That's the sort of museum I'd find fascinating! Terrific shots!

In regards to your comment at my post, I had a go at expanding the images for today, but checking the previews, the images intruded that way into the right hand column. The pics can be expanded though just by clicking on them, as always.

A Quiet Corner said...

Great collection of pix, and memories from the museum, I'm sure!...:)JP

DeniseinVA said...

Great post! You've now sown the seed, Gregg and I have often wondered about the museum as we have passed it on the freeway. We're going to stop in now.

Anonymous said...

I do think this is interesting even though I am a conscientious objector.

Have a great day!

Daisy said...

Looks like a very interesting place!

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