Happiness on the Horizon: Places to Honor Veterans

Reading City Park’s Vietnam War Memorial is dedicated to the fallen in Vietnam, seats a statue of a soldier, slumped over and looking down at the steps, beside a plaque listing those from Berks County who lost their lives in Vietnam. This memorial is moving and allows those in the area to pay their respect to those who have given their lives. This memorial is easily accessible and centered in the middle of Reading.

Visit the Eldred World War II Museum in McKean County for Veterans Day celebrations. The museum is a tribute to Americans who fought during World War II to defend freedom and democracy. Its exhibits offer an in-depth World War II narrative, including interesting information on various campaigns, women workers, and American civil defense. Special Veterans Day activities include a special program on the topic “Citizen Soldiers”.

Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg honors veterans from 1747 through the present day. With events such as guest speakers, boot camp for kids, re-enactments, and so much more, the PA Military Museum can intrigue anyone interested in military history.

Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society & Museum showcases the history of Hershey and Derry Township through artifacts dating back to the first settlers of this area. One of the most popular permanent displays is The Veterans Exhibit, featuring the personal belongings of Major Richard D. “Dick” Winters, an officer of the United States Army and a decorated WWII veteran who commanded Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. Major Winters was featured in a number of books and was portrayed by English actor Damian Lewis in the 2001 HBO mini-series “Band of Brothers.”

Honor veterans at the nation’s oldest private preparatory boarding school in the U.S., Carson Long Military Academy in New Bloomfield, Perry County. The academy provides military leadership training for grades 6-12. Carson Long honors veterans with three on-campus events on Veteran’s Day, including a parade, reception, and holiday program/lecture.

National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg is one of the largest museums in the world dedicated solely to the American Civil War. The museum is unique in its approach of telling a complete story of this most troubled chapter in American history from the social, political, and personal perspectives of the day. Since opening in 2001, this nationally acclaimed museum has served as the destination of choice for students, families, and historians who seek to experience and research the culture and history of the American Civil War.

U.S. Army Heritage Trail & Education Center in Carlisle is a premier facility for historical research. The expansive campus includes the Visitor and Education Center, the U.S. Army War College Library, the U.S. Army Military History Institute, and the Army Heritage Trail. Visitors can explore the Visitor and Education Center’s interpretive and interactive exhibits. The main gallery features the exhibit, "The Soldier Experience," highlighting the history of the U.S. Army from the Spanish-American War to current missions, as well as a changing gallery. After exploring the center, take to the mile-long Army Heritage Trail to view full-scale military exhibits, including a Cobra helicopter, Civil War encampment cabins, and WWI trench system.

Waynesborough was home to General Anthony Wayne, one of the most important figures of the American Revolution and the Valley Forge encampment. Located just five miles from Valley Forge, visitors can tour his family home that tells the important role Anthony Wayne had in our nation's history.

Harold F. Pitcairn Wings of Freedom Aviation Museum is devoted to preserving the aviation history of the greater Montgomery County area, including the men and women who served at the Naval Air Station at Willow Grove. Many veterans donated personal artifacts to the Wings of Freedom organization, and many remain frequent visitors who come — formally or informally — to share their experiences.

More than 165,000 Americans fought on the farmland surrounding Gettysburg, making it an ideal place to honor veterans. Explore the nation’s first national cemetery where more than 3,500 soldiers are buried. There’s also the Gettysburg Museum and Visitors Center includes the Cyclorama, which houses the nation’s largest painting that places visitors in the fury of Pickett’s Charge on the third day of the battle. The center also features artifacts through interactive displays.

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