If you are a lover of historical sites, especially those associated with the military, then you will love what Springfield, Illinois, has to offer. While Springfield is home to many a sites and attractions that allow us to delve inside the life of President Abraham Lincoln, many may not know that it is also home to a host of Military sites.
Whether it is a museum packed with historical information about the Civil War, or dedicated to Air Combat; A Memorial for those that received the Purple Heart, Fought in the Vietnam War, and/or World War II; or even the final resting place of those that served; Springfield is a great place to take in the history if this Country’s Military.
Historical Military Sites:
The Air Combat Museum:
Here you will lay your eyes on some of the aircraft and vehicles used in several wars, including World War II, and the Korean War.
Illinois State Military Museum:
The Illinois State Military Museum, preserves, honors and displays the legacy of the Illinois militia and the Illinois National Guard. Visit the building known as the Castle, you’ll get to know the stories of the service of Illinois citizens to the state and to the Nation. These stories cover the sacrifice and service from the early settlers in the Illinois Territory who volunteered in the Revolutionary War militia to today’s service in the Global War on Terror by the Soldiers and Airmen from the Illinois National Guard.
Historical Memorial Sites:
Purple Heart Memorial:
The Illinois Purple Heart Memorial honors recipients of the Purple Heart killed or wounded from all wars the United States has participated in.
The center of the Memorial includes an eight-foot piece of black granite with an engraving of a Purple Heart on it. The other side of the stone features a quote from William Shakespeare’s Henry V; “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.” Two smaller black granite stones to the left and right of the centerpiece of the Memorial feature the engravings of four soldiers.
Dedicated in 2016, the Memorial stands between the Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial and World War II Illinois Veterans Memorial.
Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial:
Dedicated in 1988; This Memorial honors the almost 3,000 Illinoisans killed or listed as missing in action during the Vietnam War.
World War II Illinois Veterans Memorial:
This memorial honors the 987,000 Illinois men and women who served in World War II; and the 22,000 who gave their lives.
Historical Site and National Cemetery:
Camp Butler National Cemetery:
Camp Butler was once the site of Illinois’ second largest Union Army training camp during the Civil War. It also became a Confederate POW prison after the fall of Fort Donelson in February 1862. It is one of the fourteen original national cemeteries authorized by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862. This cemetery continues to afford final resting places for veterans and their eligible dependents. There are over 25,000 persons interred in the cemetery; including 866 Union and 776 Confederate soldiers who died at the camp between 1862 and 1865.
These are just a few of the sites and attractions that are both historical and military based. Regardless, of whether they are now the final resting place of Union or Confederate soldiers; there is no denying that the history that these places hold, is a history that we must continue to tell our children. The sacrifices of these men and women must not be forgotten.
There are many places in the Springfield area to visit once you are done with you historical tour. Just a short 35 minute drive away, in Taylorsville, you will find good eats, drinks, and more history. Don’t forget to check out the shopping!