Time gives the kill order on Saddam Hussein.
War. What is it good for?
For inspiring movies, TV shows, novels, video games, a few board games, protest songs, and museums about war.
Your move, Edwin Starr.
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 in Vincennes holds memories and artifacts from over 200 years of American combat history. Usually the aggressors were overseas. Then there was the time shots were fired inside our own borders. The coverage across their shelves varies from one war to the next, eliciting widespread emotions from fierce patriotism to sobering sorrow, depending on what you carried inside with you.
Artillery balls in all sizes but mostly the same shape.
19th-century rifles from assorted conflicts.
A Union flag carried by Indiana’s 14th regiment in the Civil War.
Loan papers to help fund the Confederate’s war budget, with interest confidently deferred until 1868.
A Zouave drummer boy uniform, used by the French in North Africa. Both the Union and Confederacy had Zouave regiments; our outnumbered theirs.
For the grownups, a Zouave helmet. One can imagine why the Zouave are never invited to our Civil War movies and reenactments.
1878 discharge paper for a survivor of the Battle of Little Bighorn, who later died a Vincennes resident.
A German heavy field howitzer dating back to 1893.
A Chauchat Light Machine Gun, standard issue for the French Army in World War I.
A German WWI helmet, among the most distinct headgear known to humankind.
Headlines in Vincennes at the end of WWI, back in the glory days when towns and cities could support two different newspapers.
Because service animals need to be able to breathe out on the battlefield, too.
Extensive helmet collection.
The history of the bazooka ranges from 1942 to at least the penultimate episode of The Office, but I didn’t catch a date on this one because it was racked far, far out of reach.
One of the many 38th Parallel signs that went up in Korea in 1945 after Japan’s surrender.
CJ-5 Jeeps were used throughout the ’60s and ’70s.
The uniform of General William Westmoreland, commander of US forces in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968, then Army Chief of Staff until 1972.
President Richard Nixon’s Marine Corps One jacket.
A Viet Cong drinking cup. I have many questions about this.
Not really war, but cool to see: astronaut suit worn by Frank Culbertson, who flew once on the Space Shuttle Atlantis and twice on Discovery. He spent four months in 2001 on the International Space Station and was the only American off Earth on 9/11.
Uniform worn by Panama’s own Manuel Noriega, deposed when the US invaded in 1989.
Uniform of General Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War, then US Secretary of State, 2001-2005. Today he’s on the Board of Directors for Salesforce alongside a former CEO of Hasbro and the current CEO of YouTube.
Weaponry used in the Iraq conflicts included the Russian-made RPG and the Chinese AK-47.
Speaking of recent raging conflicts: despite the COVID-19 signage on their front door and in the main gallery itself, this museum is the only business we entered in our entire vacation where not a single employee wore a mask.
To be continued!
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[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for other chapters and for our complete road trip history to date. Follow us on Facebook or via email sign-up for new-entry alerts, or over on Twitter if you want to track my faint signs of life between entries. Thanks for reading!]