Abrams, a retired brigadier general, is executive director of the Army Historical Foundation, which is carrying out a capital campaign for the National Museum of the United States Army. The museum, which will be located at Fort Belvoir, is expected to open in 2017.
How long had you served in the Army?
When I was in the Army, I served 31 years.
Why is it important to have a national Army museum?
When visitors come to our nation's capital, there's a wonderful Iwo Jima Memorial right next to Arlington National Cemetery, and on the other side is the Air Force Memorial. Downtown is a Navy Memorial Plaza, a very wonderful place to visit, and there's even a Navy museum in the Navy Yard. And just south of here, Quantico, is the National Museum of the United States Marine Corps. But there is nothing in the national capital that tells people about the oldest and largest of our armed services, the United States Army. And this museum will become really like a home for the Army, especially for veterans and those who are serving today. And it will be the Army's national landmark.
Do you think that young people today have a good understanding of military history?
There is always a problem with younger people knowing a lot about American history. ... We're going to make [the museum] very interactive, so that when people go into that museum they will be engaged, especially young people. But we expect it to appeal to visitors of all ages. ... Even though it's U.S. Army history, we believe -- and I think there's enough documentation of it -- that the United States Army has been so involved in American history that you can really say that Army history is American history. Without the Army, we would not have been able to have an American Revolution.
-- Naomi Jagoda