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Broken Arrow Military History Museum Remembers Heroes, Sacrifice

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BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -

Just in time for Veterans Day, the public is getting its first look at more than 200 years of armed service history.

Broken Arrow's Rose District is still under construction, but some of the new attractions already are taking shape, like the new Oklahoma Military History Museum.

Organizers said what separates it from other museums in Oklahoma is that its dedicated to all branches of the military.

The chance to get up close and hands on with military memorabilia may have been the motivation for some.

But for Tom Mancino, it's the stories behind these artifacts and the sacrifice they represent.

"Our mission is to promote patriotism though the preservation of military history," retired U.S. Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Tom Mancino said.

Mancino is not only giving tours, he gave four decades of his life to service.

"We think that camera may actually be a camera of Hitler's personal photographers," he said.

He also knows a thing or two about the hundreds of Oklahoma stories across 13 wars that are represented at the museum.

It's donations from people like Bruce Carlton that have made this nearly 2,000-item treasure trove of history possible.

"My dad was in World War II," Charlton said. "and we've had these artifacts and we never knew what they were."

Oklahoma National Guard Command Sgt. Major Bryon Fry added: "This kinda gives you insight to what they experienced."

For Fry, the museum gives him a chance to pass down the history he's a part of to his son.

"It's all well represented, and it's really done well," he said.

The museum's grand opening will be on Tuesday at 10 a.m., and while it has hundreds of great items, curators always are looking for more, especially from the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

"Whether you're a World War II veteran or an Afghanistan veteran, in uniform or retired, you see the equipment, you see the weapons, you see the clothes that you wore, and that floods you back with those memories," Mancino said.

"Hopefully people recognize the benefit that those veterans provided us."

For more information on the museum, click here.

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