A day trip . . .
. . . to the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Memorial
I have a great interest in military history, so Mrs. B and I took a short trip to downtown Norfolk today to visit the MacArthur memorial for that "old soldier who just faded away."
MacArthur's biographers either hate him or love him, but there is no doubt that he was a towering figure through the first half of the 20th century.
He may have been a primadonna, but it seems that in wartime, we need them. Montgomery and Patton for instance.
The front entrance to the memorial, complete with a more-than-lifesize statue of Gen. MacArthur. I guess that's fitting. He was larger than life.
The main rotunda of the memorial is impressive, with excerpts from his speeches, flags from all the units he had under command, a history of his advancement throught the military, and his theaters of service.
MacArthur is buried with his wife Jean in a recessed area in the center of the anteroom, directly under the rotunda. William Manchester's biography, American Caesar" is well titled, as evidenced by the laurel wreath on his tomb.
I'm not sure this is MacArthur's personal uniform, but it is accurate in every detail. His citations include the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross (3), Distinguished Service Medal (4), Silver Star (3), Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, and dozens of others.
Side note: His father, Arthur McArthur, was awarded the Medal of Honor for service in the Civil War.
The museum also has two of Hideki Tojo's Nihonto that were "appropriated" by MacArthur. One katana is unsigned, but believed to be late Yamato-den, Ca - 1450. The other is signed "Bishu Osafune Sukesada," and is dated February 1509. One is mounted, the other is in a shirasaya (wooden storage scabbard). Interestingly, those signed "Bishu Osafune Sukesada" are considered to be inferior, mass produced swords. They were also called bundled swords because they were sold in batches rather than individually. Essentially, considering his rank, Tojo carried a K-mart sword.
There was also a tanto in a shirsaya. However, it was stolen from the museum and a fake was put in it's place. The theft was detected when it was examined by the Japanese Sword Society for provenence. It's whereabouts is unknown.