Oregon Coast Military Heritage Museum takes shape in Florence
FLORENCE, Ore. - The museum taking shape near the airport will house more than just a collection of shells and bullets.
The goal of the Oregon Coast Military Heritage Museum is not to glorify war but preserve some very personal stories.
"My son was shot and killed by a sniper in Afghanistan," said Steven Scott of Florence.
Scott, a veteterans of the first Gulf War, wants others to remember the sacrifice of people like his son Brice, an Army Ranger who died July 31, 2011.
"Brice was the 7th soldier in my family to serve since Vietnam, and he was the only one to fall," Scott said.
To preserve those memories, dozens of volunteers and local contractors have donated time and materials to create the museum.
What directors thought was going to be a $480,000 project has cost, so far, well under $200,000.
The collection will include a restored World War II-era Jeep, firearms, books and photographs.
"It's not a Coast Guard or a Naval museum; it's not an aviation or Air Force museum," said Cal Applebee, who serves on the board of directors. "It's for all disciplines of military heritage."
Most of the artifacts are still in storage for now, but among the more unusual items you'll see at the museum are Nazi propaganda pictures from the 1930s with Adolph Hitler.
"This larger display here is representative of the shooting down of Japanese Admiral Yamamoto in 1943 in the South Pacific," Applebee said.
"It's wonderful, you know, that future generations will be able to see what these wars were," said Robert Jackson, a World War II Navy vet.
And Scott knows for sure that Brice would have approved.
"He has been over my shoulder the whole time I've been involved with the museum," he said.