Time gives the kill order on Adolf Hitler.
Anyone who really knows Anne is well aware of her long-standing interests in American history in general and World War II in particular, with an intense specialization in the European theater. When opportunities arise to learn more about it and to view its remnants in person, those tend to rise near the top of our travel to-do lists. And so it went in Vincennes.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. Then came 2020 A.D.
Even in an ordinary average year, sometimes you really need to get away from it all. In a year like this, escape is more important than ever if you can find yourself one — no matter how short it lasts, no matter how limited your boundaries are. Anne and I had two choices: either skip our tradition for 2020 and resign ourselves to a week-long staycation that looks and feels exactly like our typical weekend quarantines; or see how much we could accomplish within my prescribed limitations. We decided to expand on that and check out points of interest in multiple Indiana towns in assorted directions. We’d visited many towns over the years, but not all of them yet.
In addition to our usual personal rules, we had two simple additions in light of All This: don’t get killed, and don’t get others killed…
The Indiana Military Museum houses the majority of its exhibits in a single expansive room, displayed in chronological order as much as possible. Anne naturally gravitated toward the ones in the middle with all the WWII stuff.
Real celebrity possessions include General Dwight Eisenhower’s uniform.
General George Patton’s jacket.
General George C. Marshall’s hat.
Legendary comedian and Vincennes native Red Skelton wore this hat while entertaining the troops.
Souvenirs from the other side include this napkin taken from Hitler’s place when the good guys won.
Some china liberated from the collection of Hermann Goering.
Vehicles small enough to park inside the museum include America’s own M3A1 Stuart light tank.
And in this corner, a Type 95 Ha-Go tank from Japan.
The Clark CA-1 Airborne Dozer was small enough to fly overseas and used for carving out or improving new Allied runways.
A Luftwaffe Junkers Jumo 004 turbojet engine, which powered Messerschmitts and other enemy planes.
Of course they have weapons. Viewers of HBO’s Band of Brothers may recall when a Luger P-08 9mm like this one became a side quest item.
More German pistols, because Luger didn’t have a monopoly.
A genuine German Bouncing Betty land mine, a bit different in appearance than those I’ve seen in video games.
Samurai swords, obviously not German.
An actual fragment from the USS Arizona, which the Japanese sank at Pearl Harbor.
An actual fragment from one of the Japanese planes that didn’t survive Pearl Harbor.
A model of the USS Hornet, the aircraft carrier that launched General Jimmy Doolittle’s raid, which was depicted in such films as Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor and Roland Emmerich’s Midway. The original Hornet sank in October 1942 at the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands.
Artifacts found at Normandy Beach, presumably from the aftermath of D-Day.
Sand from Iwo Jima itself.
The exhibit devoted to What Is It Like Being a Woman in Wartime.
A Civil Defense helmet, government-issue for those serving in a different way back on the home front.
Rather reserved examples from the world of WWII propaganda posters.
The 1944 film Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo with Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson was based on this memoir by a soldier who fought for us in Doolittle’s Raid.
1945 headlines out of Columbus, Indiana, suggest suggest the atomic bombs accomplished President Harry Truman’s objectives.
Spam! Spam! Let’s never find out how those preservatives have held up after 75 years unopened.
This was a mere fraction of the WWII remnants, and definitely not the only war represented. To be continued!
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