FORT HOOD, Texas — The excitement and the fanfare for the groundbreaking of the new National Mounted Warrior Museum at Fort Hood was overwhelming in the early morning hours on Thursday.
"My office is a mini museum, to the chagrin of my wife, DeeDee, our house is a museum. I love museums," Major General John Richardson said during his opening remarks.
Richardson loves history and said that it inspires him every single day to be the best that he can as he continually works to build cohesive teams.
"Reflecting on history forces us to remember what we are supposed to do to honor the past," he said. "Throughout my career I've looked back and leveraged lessons learned from historical events in order to enhance unit pride and learn from those who rode before us."
The vision for the museum comes from a collective of people at the National Mounted Warfare Foundation and has been in the works for almost ten long years. The massive project is expected to open in late 2022.
According to their website, Phase I of the the museum will be a 28,700 square foot structure that includes 13,000 square feet of interactive exhibit galleries. It will also include 7,000 square feet of temporary exhibit space.
"It is an incredible step to preserve the legacy of the mounted soldier throughout history," Gen. Paul Funk, II, who was back at Fort Hood representing Senior Army Command, said.
The National Mounted Warrior Museum will represent and honor the mounted soldiers while telling their untold stories of sacrifice and war stories throughout the years. It will do so through artifacts and technology so that it gives visitors a deeper understanding through an educational experience.
"Items that you find in a museum, they represent people," said Richardson, who also believes that history serves as a line that connects all of us. "An important representation of history and really what brings history to life are artifacts. Items from yesteryear that serve as visual reminders of those who went before us and more importantly, what they taught us."
"It's not going to be much about generals and colonels," said Retired General Paul Funk, Sr., who had a hand in making this day happen. "It's about battalions and companies. It's about platoons and lieutenants and captain's and sergeants, corporals and, you bet, private soldiers."
Funk, who spoke at length and spent a lot of time thanking everyone who has had a significant hand in this project along the way, also wanted people to understand the magnitude a place like this holds and the men and women it will honor.
"Mounted warriors. Nobody recognizes mounted combat like this museum will," he said. "And it's those ones that face the enemy, who do all the fighting just about. And most of the dying."
He didn't stop there, telling those in attendance that the National Mounted Warrior Museum is certainly something to be proud of having here in Central Texas, in the shadow of "The Great Place."
"It's about the stories. It's about the troopers. It's about all of us and it's about this community," he said. "And as we go and get this thing built in the future, lets not forget those that have gone before us. Those that have marched and fought on battlefields all over the world so this country could remain an example that honors the flag, honors the constitution of the United States of America."