By Spc. Christy ClardyNovember 13, 2013
CAMP MABRY, Texas --Texas Military Forces Museum officially opened its newest exhibit, "From Gonzales to Appomattox and Beyond: The Texas Military Forces in the 19th Century," this week in honor of Veteran's Day.
The 2,600 square-foot exhibit features more than 100 artifacts and 28 historic flags from the Texas Revolution, the Texas Republic, the Texas Navy, the American Civil War and the Spanish-American/Philippine-American Wars.
"This new exhibit is a credit to the support from the command of the Texas Military Forces and all the volunteers who put in hundreds of hours and many sleepless nights to open this exhibit," said Museum Director Jeff Hunt at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The exhibit was two years in the making from concept, historical research, to design and assembly. It features artifacts, interactive panels, mock battle scene models and instructional videos to engage children and history buffs alike.
"When you visit this museum you can feel the souls of the Soldiers mentioned on these walls and in these units," said Tim Weitz, president of the Texas Military Forces Historical Foundation. "And when someone leaves here, they are touched by that -- and they become ambassadors of this museum and of its legacy."
The staff and volunteers of the Texas Military Forces museum provide a living history for Texas National Guard enthusiasts as well. On Veteran's Day weekend the Texas Military Forces Living History Detachment performed their annual Close Air Assault event, re-enacting the 36th Inf. Div. fighting the Nazi Army in World War II.
The event was hosted by the museum and exhibited uniforms, equipment, and a brief demonstration of a close assault on a German line position.
"The show was awesomely loud at the end," said Charles Roth, a local Austinite who brought two of his young sons to the event. "I know my boys loved it, and my oldest is writing a paper on the demonstration for school."
The Texas Military Forces Living History Detachment has been conducting the Close Air Assault re-enactment for the past seven years on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. The event is free and open to the public.
"Only five divisions in the United States Army suffered more casualties than the 36th Infantry Division in World War II. This is our way to help ourselves and fellow Texans remember what these holiday's are really all about," said Hunt.