Lyon Air Museum has recently placed in service a new interactive display that pays tribute to recipients of the nation's highest award for valor, the Congressional Medal of Honor. This new display, hosted on a computer-based kiosk, provides visitors access to a wealth of historical information about some of America’s greatest military heroes. The exhibit content is professionally produced and presented in the form of text, graphics, audio narrative and video excerpts that can be easily searched and viewed. This computer-based exhibit supplements two existing display cases containing images, narrative text and military artifacts that chronicle the exploits of a number of World War II Medal of Honor recipients.
Medal of Honor Exhibit with Interactive Kiosk
The new Medal of Honor Kiosk provides users access to an extensive database that was produced and provided to Lyon Air Museum by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. The Foundation is a non-profit organization, established in 1999 by the Medal of Honor Society, a fraternal organization consisting exclusively of living Medal of Honor recipients. The Foundation’s purpose is to educate the American public and raise awareness about the Medal of Honor and what it represents by promoting the values of courage, sacrifice, selfless service and patriotism through outreach, education, and example. The Foundation has a number of major corporate sponsors, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, United Technologies, Morgan Stanley and American Airlines. Deployment of the Medal of Honor Kiosks at selected historical and educational institutions is one of the Foundation’s major outreach initiatives.
The Medal of Honor Kiosk enables Lyon Air Museum visitors to search and view four types of information using a touch screen menu and keyboard interface:
Introduction. This feature gives a verbal overview, supported by text and graphics, including a brief history of the Medal of Honor and explaining its meaning and significance in a historical context. This introductory segment features a narrative by Tom Brokaw, author of The Greatest Generation, with commentary by selected Medal of Honor recipients.
Search the Database. This feature enables users to access available historical information about individual Medal of Honor recipients, dating back to the establishment of the award during the Civil War. Content of these personal profiles includes a photograph of the person (where available), birthplace, military unit affiliation and relevant facts about the action for which the recipient was awarded the medal (i.e. date, location/battle and award citation). Users can search the database containing more than 3,500 historical records by last name of the individual, service affiliation or name of the war/conflict.
Living Histories. This unique feature allows visitors to view personal video histories of selected Medal of Honor recipients. These video biographies include interviews with living Medal of Honor recipients combined with photos, film clips and narration describing each veteran’s personal background, military career and wartime actions for which the medal was awarded. The Living History video archive includes 115 personal histories of some of the nation’s most highly regarded military veterans, many of whom are no longer living. Among the distinguished aviators featured in these personal documentaries are Col. Bud Day, Maj. Bernie Fisher, Maj. Ed Freeman, Lt. Col. Joe Jackson, CW4 Michael Novosel, Adm. James Stockdale, Col. James Swett, and Maj. Leo Thorsness.
Did You Know? This feature provides answers to frequently asked questions about the Medal of Honor, as well as interesting statistics and little-known historical facts about the award and the American heroes who earned it.
Database Content and Search Options
The Medal of Honor Foundation has dedicated substantial resources, over a number of years, to develop and disseminate this fine tribute to America’s military heroes. This effort has produced an informative and inspiring narrative of heroism and sacrifice that is worthy of the subject matter. Through these efforts, the first-hand accounts of events, decisions and actions captured in the Living Histories are preserved in the words of the remarkable individuals who lived through them. Lyon Air Museum is privileged to play a role in making this magnificent legacy available to current and future generations of Americans.
Article by Jeff Erickson