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ever visited a famous or significant historical site and not known it?


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A couple of years ago I visited a lot of the major battle sites in Vietnam (Khe Sanh, Hue, Quang Tri, Da Nang, Con Thien, etc.) and I completely regret it because I didn't even bother to look around much. I just took a couple of glances and just thought to myself, "Oh, some more red dirt." I didn't even bother to check out the supposed military surplus they were selling. This was when I was younger and before I started to get into Militaria collecting

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My personal favorite was while walking around Charleston, SC about 8 yrs ago. Obviously Charleston is a very historic city, and I had made a point to visit many of the historical sights such as Fort Sumter, but what happened while I just strolled around sent chills up my spine. As we all know the Civil War was started when the state of South Carolina seceded from the Union setting of a domino of 11 more states, and the document that made this official was signed in Charleston in 1860. This is a special historical event for me because my 5x Great Grandfather Colonel Robert Anderson Thompson was one of the men to sign this declaration of secession. Back to the present, I walked past a plain looking office building, where I noticed a historical marker on the wall. Curious what made this modern building so special I read the plaque to see that "At this spot in 1860 the secession of South Carolina was signed". I just stood in awe at the realization that 148 years prior my ancestor had stood in that very spot and took part in the most important decision of his life, and the one that fractured our Union.

 

A little history, Colonel Thompson survived the Civil War, going home due to health issues in 1863. He was the last surviving signer of the secession and died in 1914.

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Looking for:

WWII-KW Enlisted/NCO marked M1s


Items related to the Fort Pierce Naval Amphibious Training Base


Medals awarded to Floridians

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Several years ago we were heading from western NY for a short visit to Annapolis with a stop in Lambertville, NJ to look for a shed. Heading south out of Lambertville we ran right into Washington Crossing National Park. I had no idea where Washington had crossed the Delaware

other than somewhere near Trenton. What an unexpected treat. The whole battle of Trenton / Washington saving the army story is amazing to me. We wandered around for an hour or so. Ended up being a highlight of the trip ( Annapolis was neat).

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Don't know if this counts, but when I visited London, England, I forgot to see Buckingham Palace! Actually, it didn't even occur to me to go see it.

 

In my defense, I was more interested in seeing the Imperial War Museum and the National Army Museum (?) in Chelsea.

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

When stationed in Germany back in the 80's...I visited a lot of cities...saw the sites..but man it would have been great to visit the battle fileds.....but I didn't...too busy with "life"...Made up for it while in England though.....

 

And I grew up in DE visiting Cape Henlopen State park... a seaside state park...formally Ft Miles home of the 261st Coastal Artillery...not that I knew that as a kid.....we walked those dunes and explored bunkers, and towers...what fun as a kid...always finding rusted metal...remnants of the old Ft...there is still a lot of PSP sticking up out of the sand.....

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There used to be a dirt mound where my local Super-Target now stands. It's a funny coincidence because that dirt mound was the backstop for the targets that Naval Airmen trained on during WWII. Sadly I realized this to late, after they started bulldozing it, my and my friend went to metal detect it but alas, all that was left was bent re-bar and a web strap. :(

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a thousand pictures!

"I read that in war bad things happen, Ain't that the ************* truth" -1st Lt Mike Scotti

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I can't count how many times I've been in and around Elmira, NY. Just found out a little bit ago it was a POW camp used to house Confederate Soldiers who referred to the camp as "Hellmira", and Soldiers are still interred at the Cemetery there.

"Refuse to Lose"

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

There used to be a dirt mound where my local Super-Target now stands. It's a funny coincidence because that dirt mound was the backstop for the targets that Naval Airmen trained on during WWII. Sadly I realized this to late, after they started bulldozing it, my and my friend went to metal detect it but alas, all that was left was bent re-bar and a web strap. :(

 

Yeah, I was sad when I saw it was gone. Saw it many times driving I35.

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Don't know if this counts, but when I visited London, England, I forgot to see Buckingham Palace! Actually, it didn't even occur to me to go see it.

 

In my defense, I was more interested in seeing the Imperial War Museum and the National Army Museum (?) in Chelsea.

 

i went to both of those, as well as the battle of britain museum and buckingham palace. it was worth every dime. on a subsequent trip to edinburgh, i went to the castle and found my uncle's name in the Black Watch Book of Remembrance. memories that will last a long time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I missed out on seeing the 16 inch Iowa barrels in Hawthorne, NV before they were sold off for scrap. http://www.mojosail.com/2011/10/28/uss-iowa-on-the-move/ . I drove right by there probably dozens of times and was within 200 ft of them and never even noticed. Once I found out about them they had already been gone two years. If I had known about it I might have been crazy enough to try to find some "investors" to buy them and sell souvenir cuts. Kind of similar to when I was seriously trying to figure out how I could move and store 150 M939 trucks coming in one lot out from Yermo. I had it pretty much figured out but in the end the money just wasn't gonna happen.

 

Every time I'm in the desert I'm amazed by the history I'm able to walk right up to. Museums are awesome but I think my favorite history is the kind that I can just stumble upon while off in the wilderness and imagine how it came to be way out there.

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When I was a young troopie in Germany, I went with an old sarge to pick up a fridge for his quarters on the economy. As we neared his residence, he directed me to turn onto a secondary road. The road was paved with what appeared to be cobblestones, but was barely wide enough for my 2 1/2 ton shop van. When I remarked on the oddity of a cobblestone road in the middle of the countryside, the sarge told me it had been built by the Roman army.

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In another article that we have on here about the coastal defense forts of Oahu, I share photos that I took of one of the small installations.

 

Years later, after reviewing maps on the internet and GoogleMaps images, I determined I was less than a quarter mile from a much larger battery that was hidden behind a small housing area.

 

On a more somber note, years after leaving the islands, I read that the remains of the superstructure of the USS Arizona were in storage at the West Loch area. I am not sure that I would of had access to even drive past where ever these were located, but with a military ID, I seemed to be able to get to just about every other installation on the island.

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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When I was 18, my brother was with the USAF in the Netherlands and had a lot of time off (it was a nuke base that didn't have nukes and by then, everyone knew it wasn't likely to get them). I took a month to go hang out with him. We went to several battlefields, and we drove by a LOT of stuff I had no idea of at the time but would give just about anything to go back and see, now. In all fairness, I saw much more than normal people would, as he's a big military history buff as well. Oddly enough, there was a Panther tank in one of the neighboring towns (Breda) and he'd learned of it only after I was back in the US. We went to see Arnhem, Overloon, Bastogne and the surrounding towns, drove right by the Malmedy massacre site, among other places. I was thin enough to squeeze through the bars welded across the driver hatch opening on the King Tiger at La Glieze. sadly, it was in the winter time, so most of the museums we encountered were closed for the season.

I recently got a copy of the Marriott/Forty book, "Race to the Rhine" and I so badly wished I'd had a copy of that book back in 1988. So many things we had no clue of back then, in places we'd gone right by.

For example, we took a ferry from Vlissengen to Breskens, across a portion of the North Sea. On the Belgian side we encountered several black-painted bunkers (where I lost the lens cap from my good 35MM camera, something I still oddly recall as it simply vanished and should have been easy to find). We had no idea when they were from nor who built them. I know now, after all these years.

So, I got to see way more than a normal tourist ever would have (I'm still deeply thankful for him taking me to those places) but I badly wish I'd known more about what we were seeing...

Lee Bishop Formerly known as "Ratchet 5" with the 2nd Infantry Division (yes, in REAL life)

US WW2 War Correspondent collector

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  • 1 year later...

I'm bumping this thread because, honestly, it's a super cool one.

 

I live in fairly small town and we have a nice path system joining the Library and some parks together. I was looking it over on Google Maps and I noticed that the main trail went in a straight line diagnolly through town and stoped just north of, and in the middle of town. I flipped over to historicariels.com and was surprised to find it was an abandoned railroad laid in the 1870s and tore up in the 1960s!

 

Also, I used to go to the YMCA daycare when I was little. I also go there to swim a lot too. A few years or so ago, I stoped to read a historical marking in the parking lot. The YMCA was built on top of one of Luis and Clark's campsites! I thought that was insanely cool and I had no idea how I never knew that to begin with.

-Ben

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