COLUMBUS, Ohio — The exhibits are being built and outdoor landscaping is in its final phase, for the planned fall opening of the National Veterans Memorial & Museum.
The museum welcomed ABC 6/FOX 28 for a tour of the outdoor grounds Tuesday, ahead of the Independence Day holiday. Among the outdoor features are the iconic circular, infinity-style structure and the 2.5-acre memorial tree grove and waterfall, seated just north of the museum building. On a rooftop amphitheater, the museum's windows are decorated with military service ribbons dating to the Revolutionary War.
The entire campus sits in the shadow of the downtown Columbus skyline, just across the Scioto River.
"Columbus cared enough," said newly-named museum CEO, retired Army General Michael Ferriter. "The leaders of Columbus cared enough to raise the funds, hire the best architects and museum people in the world, and build it."
The $75 million facility includes 50,000 square feet of museum space, which will feature an American military timeline, and 14 indoor alcoves each with a different story from a veteran or a military family member. Videos and voice recordings of veterans from every American military campaign since World War II will be played, and the traditional funeral salute "Taps" will echo throughout the museum every 15 minutes.
"The community really embraced it and said, 'This needs to happen,'" recalled Amy Taylor, the chief operating officer with Columbus' Downtown Development Corporation, which has been working on the project for six years. "To see it all come together has been a personal point of pride. It's celebration of veterans' service, and honoring their sacrifice."
Opening in the fall will be scheduled just before Veterans Day in November. The admission price for civilians is one of many details still in discussion with Ferriter's team.