North woods man

| October 05, 2005

After a lifetime of hunting the way his father taught him, Flett is changing his ways a little. “I got two muzzle loaders, a .45 caliber and a .50 caliber, and they change the way you go out and hunt with the firearm,” he says. “Two years ago I started bow hunting with some friends teaching me what I need to know. It’s like a whole new world. The challenges are different and so are the techniques, the strategies, even the clothing. Shooting from 30 yards is a whole different experience that shooting from 100 yards.

“My first day hunting with a bow, and I’m out there in the dark just before sunrise and I hear this ‘crunch, crunch, crunch.’ It’s so black I can’t see much, but I can make out an outline, a shadow. And then he’s right there; he’s a big buck and he’s standing right in front of me. But I can’t shoot. Hunting begins a half hour before sunrise, and it’s still about 15 minutes too early. Then he sort of snorts at me; he knows I’m there, but he seems to know I’m not going to do anything. By the time I can shoot, he’s wandered off.

“So I went back to the same place next morning and I heard the ‘crunch, crunch, crunch.’ He came back and did the same thing. Just stood there in front of me in the dark and wandered off before I could shoot. So the next morning I went to where he had wandered off to those first two mornings, figuring I’ll be right where he’s walking when the sun comes up. Sure enough he came to where he’d been the last two mornings, but as the sun started to come up, he walked off in another direction, right past where I’d been those two days. If I’d been in the same place, I’d have had him.

“I think he was playing a game with me.”

Military Memories
With daily reports on the Iraq war filling the news, it is easy to forget all of the wars of the past that have had a profound impact on the United States. And for many of us, we may have never had a clear picture about our country’s previous wars despite high school history class. To gain a better understanding about what our military has been through and done for our nation, take an afternoon of your off-duty time to stroll through one of the many military museums dedicated to honoring our armed forces and their role in United States history.

These military museums and monuments exist to preserve the memories of American wars and those who fought in them. These museums teach us why, how, when and where wars were fought and show us just how important the American military has been in shaping our country.

These museums offer impressive displays of Army, Air Force and Naval equipment and can give you a true picture of what went on during a specific war. Most of these museums are free to the public.

The following museums are just some of the destinations you might choose. An Internet search will reveal several others across the country.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force
(937) 255-3286
This museum, located on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, is the oldest and largest military aviation museum in the world. It portrays the history and traditions of the Air Force through displays and exhibits of historical items. The museum covers current parts of the Air Force and also the history of people, engines, weapons, equipment and vehicles used by the Air Force. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and requires government-issued photo identification, like a driver license, for admittance.

The National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Fla.
With more than 140 restored aircraft representing the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Aviation, this museum offers an impressive display of powerful United States Naval Aviation. It has an aircraft collection, an enlisted pilots’ display, the USS Enterprise, an IMAX theater, motion-based simulator rides and much more. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located in Pensacola, Fla. Admission is free.

The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pa.
This is the only museum in the country that portrays the entire story of the American Civil War. It claims to offer equally-balanced presentations without bias to Union or Confederate causes. The museum has collections of artifacts, documents and photographs that cover the period from 1850 through 1876 and the issues straining the nation that led to the war and through the war’s conclusion. It is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is $7 for adults.

The Motts Military Museum in Columbus, Ohio
If you are looking for a museum that will teach you the most about the history of our armed forces, the Motts Military Museum is the place to go. This museum gives an extensive view of the United States’ wars and background information on the United States’ involvement in each war. The museum covers the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War and Desert Storm. It also features 1776, NASA, Medals and POW exhibits. The Motts website states that it “was formed out of the need to preserve, protect and display items from an area of history which is often overlooked and sometimes misunderstood.” The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. Adult admission is $5.

Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia
If you want an idea of what Americans have truly sacrificed for the country, then visit Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Nearly 4 million people visit it annually to honor and remember the nation’s war heroes. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton designated Arlington Mansion and 200 acres of ground surrounding it officially as a military cemetery on June 15, 1864. Now, more than 260,000 people are buried at Arlington Cemetery. Veterans from all the nation’s wars are buried in the cemetery, from the American Revolution through the Persian Gulf War and Somalia. Pre-Civil War dead were re-interred after 1900.

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