FORT BENNING, GA - The new National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center at Patriot Park will celebrate its Grand Opening June 19, 2009.
The $100 million facility, honoring the oldest and largest branch of the U.S. Army, is located in Columbus, Georgia, outside the gates of Fort Benning, the Home of the Infantry.
General Colin Powell, former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be the featured speaker at the Grand Opening.
A Fort Benning Infantry school graduation will be held that morning on the parade field adjacent to the new museum. The graduation will begin at 9:30 a.m. The ribbon cutting will follow at approximately 11 a.m. At noon, the doors to the museum will open and visitors will begin their journey back through 234 years of Infantry history.
Graduating soldiers and their families will be treated to a free steak lunch.
The Fife and Drum restaurant will set up serving lines in the museum to accommodate large numbers of lunchtime diners. A meal of mesquite grilled chicken breast, pineapple salsa, rice pilaf, vegetable medley, tossed salad and beverage will cost $13.75, including tax.
Also on June 19, the IMAX Theatre will add one of IMAX's most popular films, NASCAR 3D to the rotation of giant screen movies.
The Last 100 Yards, the museum's signature attraction, features life-like scenes from many of the Infantry's major battles over time. Six spacious era galleries trace Infantry history in detail from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terrorism. The Fort Benning gallery shows how training transforms the young man into a Soldier. The Family Support gallery honors those who love an Infantryman for their own sacrifices.
In addition, the museum contains the Ranger and Officer Candidate School Halls of Honor and the Hall of Valor, where Medal of Honor recipients are honored.
An authentically recreated World War II Company Street, 3D IMAX Theatre, Fife and Drum Restaurant, Soldier Store and weapons simulator offer more new experiences to the visitor.