Quantico, Virginia - After seeing how today's United States Marine Corps operates, it was time to learn about the organization's roles throughout American history at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
Since opening Fall 2006, the National Museum of the Marine Corps has had 1.7 million guests walk through its exhibits displaying the integral part Marines have played in our nation's history.
Racing from the air conditioning of the bus to the cooled museum, the Youth Education Summit paused for a photo in front of the entrance before heading inside. The museum's design features a 210 foot stainless steel spire that pierces the sky, created to emulate the iconic American flag being raised over Iwo Jima.
Inside, the museum's exhibits are extensive, covering everything from the first recruiting efforts in 1775 to Marines coming home to their families from Iraq and Afghanistan. A decorated 236 years of history are on display, covering approximately 118,000 square feet.
Through clever design, the museum features areas that make you feel like you are a marine at the German lines in Belleau Wood, in the mountains of Toktong Pass, exiting a helicopter at Khe Sanh, and more.
Movies, recordings and newsreels help tell the history of the Marines as they fought all over the globe. Plaques highlight the accomplishments of individual marines who went above and beyond the call of duty, earning themselves the Medal of Honor, sometimes at the cost of their own lives.
The students had plenty of time to walk through the museum and take a moment at each display case. No trip to a museum would be complete without a visit to the gift shop, however, and the kids loaded up on USMC gear before hopping back on the bus to head back to D.C. It was a great day at Quantico and the summit could have spent a lot more time on base, especially at the VCCT, but it was almost dinner time and there were still more sights to see in our Capital.