NIM celebrates Best Free Museum status
By Lindsay Marchello, Bayonet & Saber /
The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center celebrated winning USA Today’s Best Free Museum in the U.S. with plenty of cake and music Sept. 9.
Attendees were treated to a performance by Spencer High School’s marching band. Cakes donated by local bakeries were free for guests to enjoy.
“It’s a great day to be number one,” said Brig. Gen. Peter Jones, the U.S. Army Infantry School commandant, which prompted a round of applause.
Jones explained what makes the NIM the best free museum in the country.
“It’s not the cost of the building. It’s not the thousands of artifacts that are here,” said Jones. “It’s the legacy that you see every day of these young Soldiers and their families who walk in here, to walk the ‘Last 100 Yards,’ which is owned by the Infantry, and become part of that heritage.”
Jones thanked everyone in attendance for their support of the NIM.
Mayor Teresa Tomlinson spoke about the relationship between Fort Benning and the city of Columbus.
“I want to recognize former mayor Bob Poydasheff and all of you who have come today to celebrate the spirit of the community and spirit of the nation,” said Tomlinson. “What’s so beautiful about Columbus, Georgia, and Fort Benning is that partnership where we really do revel in the exceptionalism of private citizens who come together to honor and celebrate our military men and women who move forward to fight the fight, wherever it might be, and to preserve the foundation that this nation is based on.”
“We do it for those who don’t know, who weren’t there. And we do it also for those who were there in the trenches. We will never forget them. They may have passed, but we will never forget them and that’s what this museum stands for,” Tomlinson said, emphasizing that the NIM is a place to learn about the Army’s legacy.
The National Infantry Museum Foundation chairman and CEO, Carmen Cavezza thanked all those who voted for the NIM.
“All over the country we are gaining notoriety because of your support,” said Cavezza.
Cavezza explained that the museum staff and faculty do not own the museum, but rather the people who come to visit and support it can claim it as their own.
“It is your museum,” said Cavezza. “This museum is a living, breathing thing, and we are just one part of it. You are a major part of it.”
View more photos at fortbenningphotos.com.