Earlier I posted about finding my POW. Wednesday I visited the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayettevill, NC, to see the museum’s special exhibit honoring the Special Operations POWs. The exhibit is up through January 2013 and is free.
Though my POW wasn’t a member, from what I read about him he had similar experiences.
A centerpiece is a mock-up of a tiger cage where the men were held. It measures approximately 4’x7′, just enough room for a man to lie down or sit up. The walls and bottom are latticed bamboo and the roof thatched. I was relieved to see the walls weren’t solid so the men could at least see out, but my legs still twitched and my back ached as I imagined being cooped up for any length of time. The open walls also allowed rain and animals in. Even though prisoners were only yards from each other, the jungle was so thick they couldn’t see one another; the canopy so heavy sunlight couldn’t filter through.
This is only one of the many hardships visitors learn about. In addition, there are stories of the individual men – the ones who survived and the ones who didn’t – stories of escape and attempts, and how their experiences changed how the military trained future soldiers.
The rest of the Airborne & Special Operations Museum is also worth visiting and it’s free. It’s not a huge place, but it’s loaded with exhibits that chronicle the Special Operations Forces from 1940 to the present. It’s small but packed enough that even the youngest visitor won’t get bored!
So on this Memorial Day Weekend, or any time, why not take a field trip to Fayetteville and visit the Airborne & Special Operations Museum and pay tribute to these brave men and women.