James Kumm, Military and Veteran Services executive director, said learning about recipients of the Medal of Honor and its history was a part of his basic military training. With the National Medal of Honor Museum possibly locating in Arlington, Kumm said he looks forward to seeing other people exposed to the same stories.
"We'll see the generations of people across the United States and across history," Kumm said. "These are different eras of veterans that will be connected by this common goal."
In June, the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation named Arlington and Denver finalists for the museum site, which will likely cost around $150 million. The final selection is expected to be made in September.
Although the approximately 100,000-square-foot museum’s exact location in Arlington would still be under negotiation, the Entertainment District is the proposed location.
“It increases their visibility,” economic development director Bruce Payne said. “We get 14 million visitors per year coming to the city of Arlington alone for the various sporting events or to Six Flags or the other attractions that are here.”
The museum aims to showcase acts of valor and patriotism while preserving individual stories to inspire visitors and future generations, said Joe Daniels, National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation CEO.
With over 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients since the first medal in 1863, the foundation is working with recipients, their families and the Congressional Medal of Honor Society representatives that operate the Medal of Honor Museum on the USS Yorktown.
Since the announcement, Daniels said the foundation has received a considerable amount of responses in support of Arlington, and among them are letters from Gov. Greg Abbot to Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. John Cornyn.
"There are certain places in this country that building something takes forever because of either regulation or bureaucracy," Daniels said. "Everything that we've heard is that when Arlington decides to get behind something, it typically happens pretty fast, which is attractive to my board."
Payne said Arlington’s community support is a testament to the city’s patriotism and commitment to the idea.
“It’s something that’s really in our DNA — we’re not afraid of big projects. We’ve dealt with many of them,” Payne said. “From the construction of the current Globe Life Park back in the 90s to AT&T Stadium, to the new Globe Life Field, to the major expansion of General Motors.”
Kumm said there is value behind military history and the museum possibly locating in Arlington.
"The museum will help with that history and documenting that," he said. "It will also help with bringing Arlington as a city, our veteran population in the city, together."
Geraldine Mills, Arlington Historical Society executive director, said in her experience overseeing historical projects she knows the community will stand behind this one.
"It'd be an honor to have that museum here," Mills said. "It's a chance to educate children so the next generations will perhaps get that feeling of patriotism."
If Arlington is selected, Kumm said he would advocate for the museum to locate on UTA’s campus because of the university’s commitment to the veteran community and how the museum could inspire veteran students.
"We hope we’re selected, and we'll provide any support necessary or needed to help make it a reality," he said.