World War II comes to life at the National Infantry Museum

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) -  History came alive on World War II Street at the National Infantry Museum as the public took a peek inside a soldier's life as part of a living history program.

Education Director for the National Infantry Museum, Matthew Young said, "We followed Private Joe Jones on five different adventures as he came in the five different buildings down here on World War II Company Street."

The restored World War II barracks at the National Infantry Museum came to life as living historians portrayed soldiers during that time.

Young told News Leader Nine, "The Foundation paid $4.5 million to restore all these buildings and put them back like they were in World War II. They stripped the lead paint, they removed the asbestos, we put in wheelchair ramps for the veterans to access it and we thought it was important to add that extra element."

300 veterans, soldiers and civilians came out to see the re-enactment.

"I like World War II and I think it's really interesting and it's important to know your history," said one visitor who came with her husband Juan Marin. Marin added, "For me, I was in basic training, and this looks like basic training from when I was just beginning my army stuff."

The National Infantry Foundation allowed people to interact with the actors, ask questions, and get an up close and personal experience of that time period.

"You very rarely get to hold a weapon or see a uniform or see what a command instructor was like or get a class like the G.I.'s got on how to survive on the front, and that's what we did here this weekend," explained Young.

Best of all, the two day program was completely free to the public.

Marin said, "I think it's important for the rest of the civilian community to come and look at this."

All the buildings, uniforms and props were authentic and have been collected and purchased by the living historians. If you missed out on this weekend's re-enactment, the National Infantry Foundation will bring it back in the spring.

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