RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Since the dawn of the American Revolution, North Carolina’s people have always been quick to “answer the call.”
The Spanish-American War may not be the first war that comes to your mind which is exactly why a new exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History starts there.
“We’re kind of looking at a cross-section of North Carolina’s population if you will during that time period. What caused North Carolinians to go into military service, their experience during that military service,” said Military Curator Charles Knight.
The exhibit takes you through the end of World War II.
Retired Army Lt. Colonel Fred Burt and his friends toured it Wednesday.
He reminds us that most of the people who told the first-hand accounts of the Second World War are gone and that in all the noise of today’s events the sacrifices they made can’t be lost.
“Probably World War II was one of the biggest things that’s happened well into the last hundred years. It affected the world so much and it’s just important that they get to see what’s gone on,” said Burt.
We also learn the story of those who served not during wartime but during one of America’s most difficult periods.
“Even in the National Guard during the 1930s when the Depression hit, so many folks had nothing. So a lot of them joined the National Guard just so they would have income to put food on the table,” said Knight.
Each man and woman has an after story.
If they survived to come home then who did they become, what did they achieve all while never forgetting what they’d been through?
“How that may have impacted their lives after the war because for most of them, especially those who served during wartime, it had a very profound impact on their lives,” said Knight.
Among the 200 items on display, there is a Medal of Honor awarded at Veracruz, Mexico, in 1914, spy gadgets used by the federal Office of Strategic Services, medals awarded to the second director of the Women’s Army Corps, and a World War II-era pack howitzer artillery cannon.
The exhibit is free to the public.