This past January a group from the Enduring Pride Project were invited to NRA Headquarters by the NRA Range. Here, they were treated to lunch at the NRA Cafe, a guided tour of our National Firearms Museum and the opportunity to squeeze off a few rounds down at the range.
The program had such a good time at NRA they wanted to come back in the future and the the NRA Range's Debbie Crews was more than happy to plan their next visit. After a couple months of getting some great sponsors and volunteer Range Officers, Enduring Pride showed up on Tuesday with a group of over 20 combat disabled veterans accompanied by friends and family. There were a lot of new faces and a couple old ones, but you can always learn something new at the museum and target shooting never gets old, right?
Project Enduring Pride, to quote from their website, “is a community outreach program that works with and assists the severely wounded warriors returning from Afghanistan and Iraq and now recuperating at Military Medical Centers and Veterans Administrations Hospitals in the Washington, Richmond or Baltimore areas.”
Events are frequent and broad in the types of activities available. Enduring Pride organizes kayaking, fishing and various tours for wounded soldiers all over the greater Washington D.C. area.
The last group that visited in January was so big it needed to be split in half to take turns in the museum and range, but this group was a little smaller and more manageable as one. Showing up at noon, the first stop was lunch at the NRA Cafe before heading over to the National Firearms Museum to gaze at the more than 3,000 firearms on display.
At the museum, the group learned a somewhat-abridged history of firearms that concentrated on the most significant, and most recognizable, guns from the past 600 years. Beginning with the muesum's Petersen Gallery, the group then traveled chronologically through the Revolutionary, Civil War, first and second World Wars, Korean and Vietnam eras.
Additional stops were at the particularly impressive Theodore Roosevelt exhibit, the Hollywood Guns exhibit and a 1911 display as well as one of Law Enforcement firearms.
The recognizable pieces in the Hollywood Guns exhibit drew plenty of smirks, smiles and discussion, but these famous firearms held by famous actors weren't everybody's favorite part.
"I came here to see the 1911s, definitely," Mike Kazimir told me.
After a little over an hour in the museum, the soldiers and their companions perused the NRA gift shop before heading down to the range for more of a hands-on exhibit. Keep checking NRAblog for the next segment on Enduring Pride's trip to the NRA Range.