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National museum receives high marks from U.S. dignitaries as construction begins in Arlington

A man wearing a hat that says "National Medal of Honor recipient" looks on as CNN Anchor Jake Tapper speaks at a dais emblazoned with the medal logo.
Kailey Broussard
/
KERA News
CNN Anchor Jake Tapper speaks to a crowd of local, state and national officials, as well as National Medal of Honor recipients, at the groundbreaking for the National Medal of Honor Museum March 25, 2022 in Arlington.

Former President George W. Bush welcomed a crowd of national military and political figures to the "other Arlington" Friday morning.

The city's entertainment district, home to the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers, is the future home of the National Medal of Honor Museum.

"If you think the Pentagon was big, just walk across the street to AT&T Stadium," Bush said.

Bush, who sits on the museum foundation's honorary board of directors, said the institution will showcase the valor, patriotism and service that the more than 3,500 medal recipients displayed during their military service.

"You're looking at honor. These values must be preserved, protected and passed onto future generations," Bush said. "That is why the National Medal of Honor Museum is so important."

The Friday morning ceremony was a glimpse of the dedications, remembrances and storytelling promised of the over 100,000 square-foot museum. The celebration included performances by the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, the U.S. Army Band and the U.S. Naval Academy Glee Club, as well as a military flyover.

The building, designed by internationally acclaimed Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly, will also house the National Medal of Honor Institute, a leadership organization focused on teaching the fundamental values of the award.

Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, a 1969 medal recipient honored for his service during the Vietnam War, said the museum will allow recipients like him to continue their service to the United States for generations.

"It will highlight recipient's accomplishments as citizens, (which is) more important than what we did as soldiers," he said.

The groundbreaking was the culmination of a years-long campaign to bring the museum to town and fundraise $150 million. The museum foundation met the goal in February. Large donors have included Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, JP Morgan Chase and the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation.

The museum foundation, after abandoning its original plans to build the museum in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, chose Arlington after a national search that also considered Denver as a finalist city. Foundation members chose Arlington based on its size, location, expected visitors, displayed patriotism and project support.

The museum is expected to open in late 2024, as the city's entertainment district adds new attractions, event space and hotel beds to the area. The Texas Rangers and developer Cordish Companies broke ground in October 2021 on a hotel, convention center and skybridge connecting the new building to Live! by Loews.

Former Mayor Jeff Williams said during the groundbreaking that the "best days are ahead" for the district.

Williams is a museum foundation board member, along with Texas Rangers Baseball Club CEO Neil Leibman and Dallas Cowboys President Charlotte Jones.

The foundation also received congressional and presidential approvalfor a National Medal of Honor monument in Washington, D.C. in late 2021.

Got a tip? Email Kailey Broussard at kbroussard@kera.org. You can follow Kailey on Twitter @KaileyBroussard.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

Kailey Broussard covers Arlington for KERA News and The Arlington Report. Broussard has covered Arlington since 2020 and began at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram before joining the station in 2021.