Patriotic Spirit on Exhibit at American Freedom Museum




What with the various holidays calling forth our patriotic spirit during the summer, including Independence Day, a trip to the American Freedom Museum may be in order.

Located in Bullard, Texas — just 30 minutes south of Tyler — the private museum tells the story of the nation’s quest for freedom through the lens of the armed forces. From the hills and valleys of the American Revolution to the sands of Iraq and Afghanistan, visitors discover the journeys of those who have heroically sacrificed to ensure the freedoms we have today.

Plan ahead, if you go. The museum is open limited hours that could change sometimes due to private events and other occurrences. Typical times it’s open are Saturdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Groups of 15 or more can book other times.

The museum offers a look at some 650 artifacts displayed in two main sections: The Hall of Presidents and the Hall of American Freedom.

“I started collecting items from the Civil War, and that eventually expanded to collecting items from the Revolutionary war up to the War on Terrorism,” said Stephen Dement, founder. “The items have come from many sources, such as auctions, military dealers and other collectors nationwide. It was very challenging trying to collect an original signed document from each president, which took me about 10 years to complete.”

The Hall of Presidents includes a signed document by every president from George Washington through the current president. Some of the more interesting items in this area of the museum include a lock of Washington’s hair, a Senate tally sheet from Andrew Johnson’s impeachment trial, and the order signed by President Dwight Eisenhower adding the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Hall of Freedom chronicles the major conflicts in which the nation has been involved. In each of the 15 galleries, the conflict is defined with artifacts, maps, photos, and life-size vignettes.  Some of the more notable items include a musket used by an American patriot at the Battle of Lexington in 1775, one of Andrew Jackson’s cannons from the Battle of New Orleans, the sword of Confederate General Albert Sydney Johnston, the flag that was surrendered at Galveston when it fell to the federal forces, a 1943 Wyllis jeep, an M-29 tank, a bullet-riddled helmet that belonged to an American soldier on Omaha Beach, the flag that once flew over Dachau concentration camp, a Huey helicopter flown by the 48th Assault Helicopter Company in Vietnam, and a large highway sign from Baghdad emblazoned with Saddam Hussein’s portrait.

There’s also a C-47 fuselage that visitors can actually board and, through technology experience, can feel what it was like for those paratroopers on June 6, 1944. That is called D-Day, the Normandy invasion by allied forces that was the beginning of the end of World War II.

The museum is located at 1051 North Houston Street, Bullard. Admission is $6 for adults and $5 for youth. Children aged 5 and under are free, as are veterans and active military members.

More information is available at www.americanfreedommuseum.org or by calling 903.894.5252.

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