Flint Hills Discovery Center readies for Big Red One exhibit

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For one hundred years, the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division has been bravely fighting for America’s freedom.  Now, the Flint Hills Discovery Center, Fort Riley Museum Complex and the Center of Military History invite you to explore the epic history of the Big Red One through the eyes of five soldiers in the upcoming exhibit, Duty First: 100 Years of the Big Red One.

Opening August 26, visitors of the Flint Hills Discovery Center can immerse themselves in the exceptional history of the Fighting First as they walk through World War I, World War II, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars and the military activity of today, accompanied by the stories five heroic soldiers.

“The 1st Infantry Division has been the forefront in America’s conflicts and key to preserving our freedom,” said Dr. Robert Smith, Supervisory Curator for Fort Riley Museums. “I think the Division and the soldiers need to be honored in this way to let the public know of the history and the sacrifices they have made and will continue to make for our country.”

The men and women who have served and currently serve in the 1st Infantry Division all have their own story, which when told, teaches us the struggle of battle, the challenge of sacrifice, the rush of victory, and the bonds that exist amongst one another.

“The exhibit is extremely impactful in an approachable way,” said Flint Hills Discovery Center Director Susan Adams. “Experiencing this exhibit takes the immensity of war and turns it into just one soldier’s story of sacrifice through each conflict. It’s exceptionally personal and powerful.”

There is something to be learned and appreciated by adults and children alike in Duty First: 100 Years of the Big Red One. Younger visitors are invited to report for duty at “Rags’s Confidence Course” in the Mezzanine Gallery. In this Camp Funston “boot camp”, children can “train” alongside Rags, the lovable military pooch who served as the mascot of the Fighting First in WWI.

Along with the exhibit, the Flint Hills Discovery Center will be hosting lectures, bus trips and special events to celebrate the Big Red One. Duty First: 100 Years of the Big Red One will be on display from August 26, 2017 through January 14, 2018. This exhibit is sponsored by: Pearce-Keller Post No. 17 The American Legion, Visit Manhattan, Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation, Briggs Auto, American Legion Riders Post 17 – Manhattan and Retired Col. Charles and Merry Rayl. Learn more at flinthillsdiscovery.org/DutyFirst.

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Cathy Dawes

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