Editor’s note: If interested in touring this memorial site (or the many others at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk) visit the Public Affairs Office (bldg 4919) and pick up a walking-path map near the front entrance.FORT POLK, La. — On Mississippi Avenue, nestled between the Bayou Theater and the Army Community Service building, the Fort Polk Museum (bldg 927) maintains historical treasures related to the installation that are points of pride for Soldiers past and present.Although the interior exhibits of the museum are still closed to the public due to COVID-19, there are several memorials and military vehicles displayed outdoors that can be enjoyed.There are three tributes on either side of the entrance and four tanks encircling the building.On the left of the entrance is the Freedom Tree plaque, which was relocated from another site on South Fort Polk, according to Richard Grant, Fort Polk Museum director and curator.The plaque was dedicated in 1973 to Staff Sgt. Lonnie J. Tullier and all Prisoners of War and Missing in Action service members.According to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund page, Tullier went missing and was ultimately declared dead during the Vietnam campaign — he was originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.The newest Freedom Tree (an oak tree) is located at Woodfill Hall, otherwise known as “building 350,” and was dedicated by Fort Polk’s Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers Program in 2019.Also to the left of the museum is a Fort Polk boundary marker, circa 1955; and a 7th Armored Division memorial that was presented in 1981 “in honor of those who gave their lives in the service of their country while serving in the 7th Armored Division.”The large stone depicts the unit’s crest, details the unit’s World War II battles — Rhineland, Ardennes, Alsace and Northern France — and lists the unit’s activation date (March 1, 1942) on Camp Polk.To the right of the entrance is a plaque presented in June 1990 by the Leesville-Vernon Chamber of Commerce; a tribute to Maj. Gen. John E. McMahon, 5th Infantry Division commander; and a monument dedicated by the 3rd Training Brigade — stationed to train at North Fort’s Tiger Land — in honor of “those who served here and gave their lives in Vietnam for the cause of freedom.”The tanks, three to the right and one to the left of the building, are seemingly posed to protect the museum. Present for duty is an M26 heavy tank, an M4 Sherman medium tank, the M603A battle tank and a T55 main battle tank from Russia. According to Grant, much of the museum is dedicated to the history of the Louisiana Maneuvers in the 1940s and the infantry AIT at Tiger Land, both induced by oncoming conflicts.The Louisiana Maneuvers, responding to the upcoming WWII, consisted of “some of the brighter minds of the Army…preparing to go to war with Germany,” Grant said.At the time, the military was still using WWI tactics, such as the box formation. “The maneuvers tested what is now known as the triangular formation, incorporating Army infantry and artillery into one division,” said Grant.“The maneuvers also demonstrated that horse cavalries were largely obsolete due to the mechanized nature of WWII, and it was more efficient to move troops by vehicle instead of making the units march. Not only was it faster, but the vehicles could tow artillery while also moving the troops.”Tiger Land was in response to the upcoming campaigns in Southeast Asia. “By 1962, Fort Polk was designated as an infantry training center — it was the biggest one throughout the Vietnam war,” Grant said.While the museum cannot host any visitors yet, Grant said the facility is undergoing minor changes. Interactive, touch-screen monitors are being placed on the walls near some of the interior exhibits, allowing future patrons to read and listen to pertinent facts related to the displays.In the meantime, the JRTC and Fort Polk community can still appreciate the outdoor display at the museum, along with the other memorial sites listed on the walking-path map.Each site is an opportunity to slow down and remember the rich military heritage from which current Soldiers, Families, contractors and Department of the Army Civilians stem.