On Independence Day, we are grateful for those who risked or lost their lives for American Independence and the freedoms we enjoy today.

A family visits the museum . . . 

young visitors to the museum dressed in military outfits

 . . . and comes away with stories and lessons

Christy Giusti and her son and three daughters, from Traveler’s Rest, S.C., recently visited Brevard and discovered the Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas. After their visit, Ms. Giusti shared these comments and answers to our questions, along with photos of the girls trying on real uniforms from the museum’s collection.

“We were visiting Brevard and happened to pass your sign after leaving the Visitors Center, so my daughter suggested we check it out. My daughters are 11, 9, 7 and I have a 3-year-old son. Any time we can interact with history we try to take that opportunity because it makes it come alive!”


Q. What were your children’s reactions to what they saw in the museum?
A. They were amazed! They remarked how the beds [in the Sea Services exhibit] were hard, the uniforms were uncomfortable and at times heavy to carry, which were things they had never thought about before. We regularly heard “Wow look at that!” or “Come Mom, look at this!”

Q. Did you notice certain exhibits which interested them the most?
A. They really enjoyed getting to try on the real uniforms, and then seeing them displayed in each room. It was really neat to see the video of the Army Jeep being hauled in and restored, then seeing the finished product.

My daughter said, “It was so cool that some older men put the jeep back together!” Honestly, their favorite parts of any visit are the stories that we can gain while we’re there, and there were many stories to tell at this museum! From the videos, the printed literature, and the wonderful veteran volunteers themselves.

The kids continued to talk about the WWII veteran on the video who was 101 and his story of survival. This museum is particularly well-done because it takes you through each era so you can see the chronological evolution of war. One child said she really enjoyed seeing the antique weapons displays with the swords and scabbards and guns, because they were so old and interesting.

Q. Are there other similar activities you like to have your children experience?
A. We like attending any other “living history” events. Recently we also visited the Western NC Air Museum [Hendersonville] to see the wonderful planes, many of them from the wars which we learned more about at the Veterans History Museum in Brevard. We also enjoy visiting Hagood Mill Historic Site [Pickens, S.C.] on their monthly event days.

Q. What do you want your children to know about our country’s military history, or about individual veterans?
A. They are learning that there is a great cost to war, that many people pay that cost when it is necessary, so it’s important to learn how to be cautious to avoid it if possible, and to be thankful for the veterans and citizens who have paid the cost to ensure our comfort and freedom.

Their great-uncle is a Vietnam War veteran, so we talk to him often to gain his wisdom and stories. Any time you can talk to a veteran you are gaining a level of wisdom and understanding about real life that is being lost unless we can preserve it in our children’s memories. It’s important for them to see that their own life isn’t the only life that matters. It is part of a long string of history, and they can play an important and heroic part too, even in small ways.




Article by Christy Giusti, edited by John Luzena and Janis Allen

young visitors to the museum wearing military outfits