By the numbers:
- 38 miles, around New Orleans – Just past the 4000 mile mark for the trip – about 1 third done.
- Only one place traveled today – The National World War II Museum.
We had heard the World War II Museum was a must see place to go and we were not disappointed. Spread out over 4 large buildings it is a pretty amazing collection of the
vehicles and equipment used in the war, as well as some great displays, movies, and personal testimonies.
First, you ask, why is our nation’s World War II Museum in New Orleans? Because this was where Andrew Jackson Higgins had his home and his factories. And who was Andrew Jackson Higgins? The inventor and producer of variations of the Higgins flat-bottomed landing craft. President Eisenhower said that Higgins “won the war for us.” Without boats that could land on open beaches, he explained, “the whole strategy of the war would have to be rethought.” See this NY Times article.
At one point during the war almost 14,000 of the 15,000 vessels owned by the US Navy had been produced here in New Orleans at Higgins factories.
The major overview movie, Beyond All Boundaries, shown at the museum was quite well done. Shown in a special theater with a combination of film, raised and lowered actual artifacts, motion devices built into the seats, and even artificial snowfall during the Battle of the Bulge. I had tears in my eyes at the end and was feeling very proud of my Mom’s and my father’s service in WWII. Some parts of the exhibits were very detailed and some were more summary. Not a lot of detail on the parts of war in which my parents served. Just a short segment on the Italy campaign, Anzio where Mom’s evac hospital came in to back up another hospital that was bombed, on the liberation of Rome, and the campaign in Northern Italy that continued until the war’s end. In that part of the war army units composed of Japanese Americans and another of African Americans served with high distinction. I am sure Mom helped care for soldiers from both of these units.
At the end of the day we discovered that there was to be a fire works display near our hotel over Lake Pontchartrain. We haven’t been to a live fireworks show for a long time. It was more fun than expected.
See Peg’s blog for more pics of the fireworks.