The museum will honor the 3,508 Medal of Honor recipients and tell their stories. The Medal of Honor is “our nation’s highest and most prestigious military decoration.”
“These are America’s most selfless heroes. When you start to read these stories, they are remarkable. These are acts of military warriors to protect or rescue fellow warriors. They embody the values of integrity, courage, patriotism and love, and are truly inspirational,” the museum’s chief executive officer, James T. Connors, told The Texan.
He hopes that museum visitors are inspired and transformed after learning the stories of these honorees.
The total budget for the design, building, exhibits and experiences, and programming is $185 million. Connors said that they have raised over 50 percent of the needed funding. Most of it has come during the course of the pandemic and Connors believes this shows the strength of the project.
Gifts to the museum have come from all over the country. They have ranged from many small gifts to about 25 gifts of at least $1 million or more, including a $20 million gift from the Jerry Jones family. Connors is optimistic that the remaining funds can be raised before the end of 2021.
For its building site, the city of Arlington leased five acres to the National Medal of Honor Museum north of Globe Life Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers.
“The city of Arlington has been remarkably easy to work with,” Connors said.
Colonel Neel Kearby, who graduated from Arlington High School in 1928, is honored with a statue and display at Arlington’s City Hall.
He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his destruction of six enemy aircraft during a successful raid on enemy installations in the South Pacific during World War II.
Rafael Vinoly Architects, a firm in New York City, is working with the Linbeck Group of Texas on the design development of the museum building. Gallagher & Associates has been engaged to work on the exhibitions, which will use immersive technology for an even more engaging experience for visitors, Connors explained.
In addition, bipartisan legislation to create a National Medal of Honor Monument in Washington, D.C. is making steady progress, and Connors hopes it will be passed with strong support before the end of the year.
The monument would be located near the Lincoln Memorial, which Connors pointed out would be fitting since the Medal of Honor was created under the Lincoln administration in 1861.
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Kim Roberts is a reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.