People are confused. Let’s re-explore the facts concerning the Medal of Honor Museum at Patriots Point. And let’s set the record straight.
The National Medal of Honor Museum (NMOH) already exists. It’s on the “Fighting Lady,” the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point. There can only be one “national museum” by Congressional designation. (HR 1663 became law in 1999.) We have that. The Medal of Honor Society’s offices are already there — and have been for over two decades. There is an existing contract between Patriots Point Development Authority and the Medal of Honor Society that was recently renewed.
Other Medal of Honor museums may be built anywhere with the blessing of the Medal of Honor Society. It extends their influence — especially in their exceptional programs of leadership and character development. We endorse those efforts, as well. Our Charleston area museum will feature these programs.
The National Medal of Honor Heritage Foundation, Inc., has been formed. We will raise $45 million by public, private and corporate efforts to right-size the new facility — ostensibly to bring the existing museum to a land-side site. Importantly, we are local — and we will see this to its completion. In general, new attractions deserve public scrutiny. What will they advance? They bring jobs, fill hotels and restaurants, enhance education and add substantial accommodations tax revenue to governments — both state and local. That revenue often becomes a multiple of the governmental investment.
The NMOH Heritage Foundation consists of a national advisory board with 10 nationally-known personalities. There is a 13-member executive board enhanced with high profile citizens of the Charleston community. There is also a 51-member “Special Forces Team” of other community volunteers who have myriad talents in marketing, events, website, finance, public relations, construction, hospitality and other needs. Together, these three boards will complete the task at hand and bring the community, the state and the nation a land-side National Medal of Honor facility of great pride.
We have much to do ahead and are enthusiastically assembling every facet for a success. Those include a solid business plan, a professional feasibility study and a sustainability plan — all as part of the pragmatic fundraising goal. In performing these tasks, we are well aware that we have to overcome the failure of a previous group when we visit boardrooms, governmental assemblies and the media. It is a daunting task that will be fraught with some naysayers and obstructionists. We will persevere because this is our legacy in a resilient state and community that has overcome much, much more.
If you want to become a part of our team, or simply want to donate, check out our website at NMOH-HF.org. We promise you an awesome museum — or your money back.
W. Thomas McQueeney is the Chairman of the National Medal of Honor Heritage Foundation, Inc.