When it comes to honoring our nation’s military, the Dallas-Fort Worth area takes a back seat to no one. When it comes to getting projects done, Arlington has as strong a track record as you can find.
So when leaders of the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation visit this week to consider Arlington as the home for a permanent museum, the sales pitch practically writes itself.
Arlington is offering land near Globe Life Park and AT&T Stadium. It’s in direct competition with one other finalist, Denver, and a decision is expected by October.
The location amid a host of tourist attractions is ideal. The museum can benefit from the 14 million people who already come to Arlington for Six Flags Over Texas, the Rangers and other destinations. Many would gladly add the museum to their itinerary, and those coming specifically for the museum and its events would have plenty of entertainment options to round out their trip.
Being in one of the nation’s largest markets would be to the museum’s benefit. And especially Dallas-Fort Worth, with its deep connections to the military.
Texas is home to more than 1.5 million veterans, and about a quarter-million of those are in North Texas. Hundreds of thousands more are close enough to make day trips to the museum.
Plus, the defense industry has been a backbone of the region for years. Texans have a healthy respect for the military and the sacrifices made in defense of American freedom. Many would make the Medal of Honor museum a priority to visit.
Those connections, especially in the corporate world, would help the museum realize its ambitious $150 million fundraising plan. Arlington has excelled at these types of public-private collaborations, and the history of cooperation across the region would make for a strong campaign to get the museum up and running.
As retired Army Maj. Gen. Pat Brady, a Medal of Honor recipient who is a member of the museum foundation’s board, told the Star-Telegram, the priority is to “get this damn thing done.”
Mayor Jeff Williams notes that the goal would be to open the museum within four years, so the ability to do construction here practically year round is a point in Arlington’s favor.
For Arlington residents, having the museum here would be an honor and a selling point, and the deal is reasonable. Arlington owns the land parcels under consideration, and although the Rangers control it by contract, they’re cooperating on the pitch. No taxpayer funds would be used for construction, hence the massive fundraising campaign.
There’s plenty of practical benefits in addition to boosting tourism. Arlington schools are prepared to create field-trip programs and other educational partnerships, Williams says. And with more than 3,500 individual stories to tell, the museum won’t lack for fresh exhibits to make repeat visits worthwhile for local residents.
Denver is a lovely city with much to commend it. But it can’t compete with all Arlington has to offer. We’re confident the museum foundation’s directors will agree after their visit.