Legion’s War Memorial Museum Puts Local Veteran History On Display
By REBECCA HAZEN
The War Memorial Museum in Trenton, run by the American Legion Post 106, tells the stories of local veterans, from the American Revolution through the Iraqi and Afghanistan Wars.
A few things in the museum, like dioramas and models, were made, and some items, such as bullets, were found with metal detectors on Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. What makes the museum special, however, is that nearly everything else in the museum has been donated, or is on loan, from local people in Dade County and the tri-state area.
The museum is dedicated to Oscar Leo Ellis Jr. Ellis, in the United States Army, and a Vietnam War Veteran, started the museum. He was active with Post 106 from 2007 to 2017. Ellis passed away in 2017. A lot of Ellis’ items from Vietnam are on display in the museum.
Rex Morris, retired from the Navy, now is in charge of the organization of the museum.
“You will find things from all of the services here,” Morris said.
The oldest item in the museum is an original drum from the American Revolution.
A flag from Nazi Germany is on display, donated from County Executive Ted Rumley, from his grandfather George Rumley. Another flag that flew over the embassy in Baghdad, Iraq in the 1980s is also on display.
Pictures of local veterans are lined up on a top shelf near the museum, which goes around the whole main room.
A cross bow on the wall belongs to Post 106 Commander Gary Moore, which was given to him as a gift before he left Vietnam.
“When I was in Vietnam I was military police. I had a Montagnard (an indigenous Vietnamese tribe) as an interpreter. His father made me that. The Montagnards use that for hunting, or to kill GIs. They are very powerful. This one is a small one though,” Moore said.
Other items that can be found in the museum include Confederate money, a Russian radio, Star of David patches worn during the Holocaust, and photos of the Merchant Marines.
“During World War II, more Merchant Mariners were killed than U.S. Marines. If it weren’t for the Merchant Marines, we wouldn’t have won the war,” Morris said.
Many uniforms are on loan and donated from local people, such as Morris and Moore themselves, General Bob Woods, Sgt. John Hershel White, and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Rick D. West.
“I’d put this museum up against anybody’s. Nobody that I know of, has anything close to this, that is all donated,” Moore said.
John Millican, a volunteer, runs the museum. The museum is usually open Tuesday through Friday from 10 to 3 p.m., schedule dependent. The museum can be opened up for appointments for groups as well. There is no admission cost, but there is a donation jar.
“A lot of people don’t realize all that we have. We bring school kids in. All of the Scouts have been through here,” Moore said.
Moore noted that donations are welcomed, both for the museum and for Post 106. Moore hopes to fix the museum building up.
“The only income source we have is the gun show, and selling pork skins at any functions, but the last year, we haven’t had any functions,” Moore said.
For more information about the museum, located at 13205 N. Main St., and about Post 106, call Commander Moore at (404) 376-9596.