World War II Museum: Day 19

2015-07-04 12.59.41Happy Fourth of July, everyone!  What more appropriate place to go on this day than the National World War II Museum right here in New Orleans?

After an interesting – very interesting – consternation trying to pay for parking by phone (it’s all the rage, but does it work? Apparently not in New Orleans!) we found our way to the museum.

Your journey into the past begins by taking on an identity of someone who served in the War and then taking a virtual train ride to your first  posting far from home.

There are miles and miles of history to walk and absorb as we traveled the trails of the museum.  All of it fascinating, if just a little difficult to follow in chronological order.  2015-07-04 12.17.12We made short work of the Pacific War, since we had just covered that in the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, TX last week. (Was that JUST last week?)  So, we spent more time on some of the information about the air war, the ground war, and the home front where so many women went into the workforce for the first time.

Except that we did do the submarine experience, where you are assigned a place on a sub and must fulfill your duties as the action is taking place.  Randy and I were to take the wheels that submerge and surface the boat.  When we heard “Dive, dive, dive,” we turned, turned, turned.  The guys next to us were firing the torpedoes.  But the sub sank anyway.  Chilling experience, but unlike the men who served on her, we were able to walk off and continue our lives.

2015-07-04 15.37.37More than the explanation of the events of history, I was interested in the personal stories of those involved.  And there were many, accompanied by personal belongings, or as in one case, belongings that had been lost in a forest in Germany and were returned after the war.  Uniforms also intrigue me and there were some excellent displays here.  And, of course, the B-17 Flying Fortress is a favorite subject of mine and they also had an excellently restored specimen. (“My Gal Sal” – see above.)

2015-07-04 13.25.28We had to stop mid-day for some C rations at the “American Sector Cafe” and found ourselves ordering the Louisiana chicken meat pies.  And, they were excellent – much better than C rations, I must say!

I was particularly touched during one of the films when as they closed the narration they had a string of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines file out as if on parade.  They faced the audience and then one out of three in the line grew into old men taking on civilian clothing and walked toward the audience, while the other two out of three stayed young men in uniform and faded from the screen.  I teared up and couldn’t stop the water works.  It made me very appreciative of the sacrifice so many have made on behalf of our freedom.

2015-07-03 13.49.42What a way to celebrate Independence Day.