My Beloved finds elements of World War II fascinating. If it has Nazis, death camps or slow-motion battle scenes, it’s a movie/documentary/television special he wants to watch.
I’m like, “yeah, yeah, never forget, this is depressing … when can I watch Project Runway?”
So when he suggested we tour the National WWII museum in New Orleans, I was less than enthused. A good marriage involves compromise, and he did let me wander through a bookstore for an hour while he stopped at Home Depot, so I owed him.
As it turns out, the museum earns its status as the No. 1 Attraction in New Orleans by TripAdvisor and the No. 1 “Best Place to Learn U.S. Military History” by USA Today.
As mentioned in a previous post, the 4D movie narrated by Tom Hanks, “Beyond All Boundaries,” is excellent. Elsewhere, visitors can walk through a multi-story exhibit of war history that appeals to almost all the senses (I didn’t get to actually taste C-rations, but you get the point).
A new addition is the U.S. Freedom Pavillion: The Boeing Center featuring full-size aircraft and other vehicles of war. The morning we were there, curators were repositioning a tank — we got to see a World War II tank moving!
I found many things interesting at the museum, but this artifact struck me as being artful, which I found ironic for relic of war.
This is a Pratt & Whitney twin wasp engine used in a number of Allied fighters and bombers of the time. The symmetry and level of detail were striking. I Instagramed the image and used an old-fashioned filter on it.
To think why this engine was built and how it was used — powering aircraft that dropped bombs to kill human beings — is depressing. But there is beauty in the design and craftmanship; to create is redemptive.
I benefited from the display, as hoped for by the museum’s promoters: “The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world — why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today — so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.”