In the same ballpark where many home runs were hit over the past quarter-century, another home run was celebrated Friday for what has become “The American Dream City.”
The Capital One Club at Globe Life Park was filled with dignitaries and guests totaling around 200 who were on hand for the announcement of Arlington as the new home for the National Medal of Honor Museum. The official news came down earlier in the week that the city had been chosen over Denver.
“The authenticity of the patriotism we saw across the state was overwhelming,” said Joe Daniels, president and CEO of the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation.
Then, he recalled a meeting in Austin with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that he said convinced him even more that Arlington and Texas were a good choice.
“In this hallway I went down was a beautiful exhibit for medal of honor recipients,” he said. “We just decided that we wanted to be a part of that patriotism.”
The search for a new site was launched in October 2018. The relocation from South Carolina at the USS Yorktown, just outside Charleston, was due to the board seeking a larger metropolitan area that also draws many visitors throughout the year to give the museum as much traffic as possible.
Arlington draws more than 14 million visitors annually to its entertainment district, which will be the site of the museum, scheduled to open in 2024.
“There is innovation and mobility happening in Arlington, Texas, that people all around the country are taking notice of,” said U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth.
Daniels is also known for being the former president and CEO of the 9/11 Museum in New York.
Friday’s ceremony featured a presentation of colors from the Joint Color Guard, Naval Air Station Fort Worth, Joint Reserve Base. The Arlington Martin High School Chamber Singers sang the national anthem and “America the Beautiful.”
Retired Army Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady told the story of a fellow Medal of Honor recipient, the late Webster Anderson, who lost both legs and part of an arm in a heroic moment during the Vietnam War. The two were speaking to a group of students when Anderson was asked by one if he’d do it again given the opportunity.
Brady said Anderson responded, “Kid, I’ve got one arm, and my country can have it anytime.”
Then, Anderson added: “That’s a patriot.”
Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams noted the city has a statue in honor of its own Medal of Honor recipient, Neel Kearby, outside City Hall.
“We’re going to be able to touch the entire nation from this platform we have,” Williams said. “Our educators are ready to help carry the mission of this museum. The education message is going to be a game-changer.”
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the franchise plans to use its national image to spread the word about the museum.
U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, R-Arlington, said the museum will not only be a national draw, but “people from all over the world are going to come to see it — and I’m not exaggerating when I say that.”
Then, Wright joked, “We harbor this secret suspicion that after God created the world, on the seventh day, he came to Arlington to rest, take in a ballgame, ride a few rides.”
Now that the decision has been made for the museum to be in Arlington, Daniels said the work begins to make it “America’s next treasure.”
“We want it to be one of the top museums, if not the No. 1 museum in the United States, and now we have to deliver on that,” Daniels said.