On a crisp morning just before Thanksgiving, a crowd of soldiers, Army Veterans and Army supporters joined more than 200 steel workers gathered on a construction site at Fort Belvoir to watch as the final steel beam of the National Museum of the United States Army was lifted into place. The historic moment capped a year of tremendous progress building a place that will honor and preserve the service of the 30 million men and women who have served in the United States Army. The Army is our nation’s oldest and largest military service, yet it will be the last to see a national museum built to tell its entire history.

The museum will hold some of the Army’s most treasured artifacts and compelling works of combat art. In fact, the first four artifacts are already in place, and they are incredible pieces of our nation’s history. These artifacts, which are so large that crews had to build the museum’s walls around them, include the only known surviving Renault FT-17 Tank used by U.S. personnel during World War I, a Higgins Boat that brought troops to shore on D-Day, the M4A3E2 Sherman “Jumbo” Tank that first broke through enemy lines during the Battle of the Bulge, and the M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle that led the charge from Kuwait to Baghdad in 2003.

When the museum opens, it will be a national landmark that serves an important role in strengthening the fabric of the Army Veteran community. The museum will