ARAB, AL (WAFF) - The Cost Of Freedom Veterans Museum features a number items either donated or on loan from local veterans. The museum's president says it's a rare educational experience for all.
Over the last several years, volunteers have worked to transform the former Arabian Theater in downtown Arab into a museum that pays tribute to veterans of all generations that have fought to protect our freedom. When you step inside the museum, you will see items that date all the way back to the Revolutionary War.
"We started at the inception of our country, the Revolutionary War. This is where it all began. And so we started with the Revolutionary War. And then we went from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War. And then from the Civil War to World War I," said museum president Gene Bishop.
The museum also includes World War II, Vietnam and beyond.
A special tribute is set up for a family from Arab that lost their son, Waid "Chip" Lindsey in 2011 while he was serving in Afghanistan
This is is actual uniform, his watch, his holster, his boots, hat. You have probably a picture of him where he was standing in front of a drop zone," Bishop said.
95-year-old World War II veteran James Carson fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He is proud of the museum and the educational opportunity it provides for younger folks, as he says. Carson even has a few personal items he has donated.
"In the museum, I have a picture of my uncle who was killed in World War I. And I have the original telegram that was sent to my grandmother about his death. And I also have where my grandfather enlisted in the Civil War and where he was discharged," said Carson.
There is one item Carson said he didn't donate to the museum because he still gets plenty of use out of it.
"I do have my World War II uniform, can still wear it. I have it home, I keep it at home and I do wear it on occasion," he said.
Also in the museum is an item donated by longtime WAFF 48 News Anchor Tom Kennemer. It's a crossbow that was given to him by Vietnamese soldiers during his time serving in Vietnam.
Kennemer said he traded the soldiers fruit for the Montagnard crossbow at a south Vietnamese outpost in 1963.
The museum is hoping to expand to a larger building in the near future to feature even larger exhibits.
The Cost Of Freedom Veterans Museum is open each Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There is no charge for admission, but donations are greatly appreciated.
If you plan on bringing a group of people, please call ahead for an appointment.
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