We didn't realize we were working on a Father's Day story when Michael Bane brought Joe Mantegna to the National Firearms Museum's for thier new show “Gun Stories,” but meeting Don Mitchell changed that. Mitchell is in charge of sound for most of Bane's Outdoor Channel shows. Between takes, he shared a story about how a discovery at the museum brought his family a little closer to his father. And we couldn't think of a better day to share it than today.
"I was here for a shoot a few years ago," explained Mitchell. "The curators took us on a tour so we could get the lay of the land ... maybe find a location to shoot. While going through the World War II section, I stopped dead in my tracks ... it was my dad."
Case number 64, where Mitchell stopped, was filled with World War II memorabilia like a Browning Automatic, a Smith & Wesson Double-Action Victory Revolver, and a Thompson M1A1 Submachine Gun and pictures of our fighting men in action. The one that caught Mitchell's attention was from the Pacific Campaign.
"There are four guys crouched in the jungle on one of the islands, machine guns at the ready, and one is looking in the direction of the photographer. It was hard to believe, but that one is my dad."
A little research proved his assumption to be correction. With some help from the curators and the National Archives, Michell was able to obtain a copy of that very picture showing his father in action. And it's a memory his family truly treasures.
"We knew my dad served in the Pacific, and we knew that he saw some action, but to have a picture of him serving his country is amazing. I can't begin to thank the NRA and the (National Firearms) Museum for helping us discover this part of my dad's life."
So when touring the National Firearms Museum, make sure to swing by case #64 and say hello to Mr. Mitchell ... a father found again in the midst of history.
From all of us here at NRAblog, have a Happy Father's Day.