Less than three years after opening the $108 million facility, the National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center celebrated 1 million visitors during a brief ceremony this morning.
Jim Sturdivant of Birmingham, Ala., and his family were all smiles as they entered the museum at 10:04 a.m. on a spring break outing.
“I knew something was up when we walked in,” said Sturdivant, who was with his wife Susan, and two sons, Daniel, 19, and Thomas, 13.
Sturdivant, who was at the museum shortly after it opened in June 2009, said the family was in the area to see the museum and Fort Benning. He served in the Army and the Reserves.
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Susan said it was the perfect way to spend spring break. “It is very exciting,” she said. “My son said the only thing better was the national championship. We plan to take as much time as we need to see it and experience it. We can tell our other two sons about it.”
With a strong interest in World War II and military history, Thomas said he asked his parents to make the visit.
“It’s really, really cool,” he said. “I’ve been here before and I thought we could come here and see it again. I thought they were going to say there was a vehicle malfuntion and we couldn’t go in. I saw the balloons and said is it somebody’s birthday.”
For helping the musem reach the milestone, the Sturdivants also were presented a bag of goodies which included a certificate and the new 2012 Infantry Soldier Siver Dollar, a commemorative coin approved by Congress in 2008. So far more than 155,000 coins have been sold with $10 from each coin supporting the museum.