When Veterans Day comes around every November, you can be sure it’s not just a day off or discount-day for veterans at every chain store imaginable. It’s also a day to celebrate those who have served, as well as sacrificed for a cause they believe in. Take some time to honor them this Wednesday by visiting one of the many memorials or museums that Indiana has to offer. Whether you’ve seen them a thousand times or didn’t even know they existed, they’re sure to teach you something new.
Indiana World War Memorial
This Indy fixture is something you probably walk by every day. This Wednesday, take an hour to stop by to visit the free museum, which contains exhibits about wars affecting Indiana’s veterans, from The Battle of Tippecanoe to present-day struggles. If reverence suits you more than discovery, you can also pay your respects in the upper Shrine Room, which is symbolic of global harmony and world peace. The museum is open for self-guided tours Wednesday through Sunday between 9 am and 5 pm.
Feel like exploring the outdoors? Visit the surrounding American Legion Mall to view monuments to soldiers who fought in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. These semi-circular concrete monuments list the names of soldiers killed or missing in action, along with excerpts from some of the letters they sent home.
Indiana Military Museum
If you’re in southern Indiana, check out the Indiana Military Museum in Vincennes. Open from 10 am to 4 pm every day of the week, the museum features exhibits from World War I and beyond. Whether you want to explore the assortment of tanks, guns, and airplanes outdoors or view exhibits featuring items such as World War II propaganda posters or a brick from Hitler’s fireplace, you’ll come away having learned something new.
Soldiers and Sailors Monument
Sure, it is one of the most iconic Indianapolis landmarks, but we bet you did not know about the museum hidden in its basement. (And if you did, you probably haven’t visited it.) The Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum houses multiple civil war artifacts related to the people of Indiana in the 9,000-square-foot basement. If you don’t feel like visiting the history-filled basement or the internal gift shop, you can always take the elevator and a short hike of 31 steps for a 360-degree view of Indy’s skyline from the top room of the monument. Feeling really ambitious? Take the stairs all the way up. All 331 of them. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is open to visitors from Friday–Sunday from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm between the months of November and April.
Ropkey Armor Museum
Just outside of Crawfordsville, the Ropkey Armor Museum houses an impressive collection of U.S. Tactical Military Vehicles from every decade on its 50-acre lot. That being said, the majority of the collection is indoors, so you can still appreciate history without freezing your toes off. Drop by without any appointment from Monday through Wednesday between 11 am and 4 pm.
National Military History Center
Just outside of Auburn in northern Indiana, the Dean V. Kruse Foundation houses two things: a spectacular car collection, complete with a Batmobile, and an expansive military history museum. The military wing of the museum, known as the National Military History Center, has been expanding, with a recent addition to its Pearl Harbor and Women’s Service Corps exhibits. The center is open for exploration seven days a week from 9 am to 5 pm.