Amid all the theaters and eateries that grab tourists’ attention in Branson, Missouri, it’s
quite possible to miss an attraction that you shouldn’t: Veterans Memorial Museum. Using
the slogan “Honoring Those Who Served,” this museum does just that by packing in more than
2,000 exhibits, including the listing of more than 500,000 names of U.S. soldiers killed in
action in 20th-century conflicts. Though a memorial, this is also a place to brush up on
history, study the technological advances that each conflict brought with it and to admire
the world’s largest war-memorial bronze sculpture, consisting of 50 life-size soldiers
storming a beach.
Created by internationally known sculptor Fred Hoppe, this 70-foot-long
tribute is the museum’s hallmark. An actual combat veteran from each of the 50 states is
represented in the sculpture. The artistry is impressive, and the fact that it required
five tons of clay and 15 tons of bronze help make the work, according to the Veterans Task
Force, one of “the greatest tributes ever completed for the Veterans of the Twentieth
Century.” Yet this is, of course, only one of the exhibits.
Others throughout the 10 halls
include murals, objets d’art, the spoils of war, historical artifacts and authentic
memorabilia honoring all branches of the service. Some visitors may find the Ho Chi Min
Trail bicycle fascinating, while others may prefer the World War II motorcycle. But most
everyone will feel grateful for those who made sacrifices to help create the America we
live in today.
Open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; (417) 336-2300; veteransmemorialbranson.com.