To help visitors learn about Cumberland County’s multi-faceted military roots, the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau brings history to life on the Patriots Past & Present Trail. Of the 24 attractions and points of interest on this 90-mile driving trail, there are a few that focus specifically on the history of Fort Bragg’s airborne forces. For those interested in military history, two local museums on this trail cannot be missed.
Visitors to the Airborne and Special Operations Museum (ASOM), located in downtown Fayetteville, find this museum to be just as impressive as any in Washington D.C. The fascinating displays, artifacts, dioramas, and even a motion simulator allow the patron more than a glimpse into the history of our nation’s airborne troops. The museum regularly hosts events to celebrate the significant military holidays, as well. August 16 is both National Airborne Day and the anniversary of the ASOM opening in 2000—two great reasons for the museum to host its annual National Airborne Day Celebration, scheduled on August 13 this year.
Whereas the ASOM focuses on all U.S. airborne and Special Forces, a different stop on the Patriots Trail reveals more about the history of one infamous unit, at the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum. The second oldest U.S. Army museum was started 70 years ago, in 1946. After a fire destroyed it, funds were raised for a permanent museum, and the ground-breaking ceremony took place 60 years ago, in August 1956. A short walk around these grounds today gives the visitor an up-close look at several aircraft and memorial displays. Inside, patrons learn about “All-American Division” history, dating back to 1917.
Today’s paratroopers are stationed all over the U.S. and abroad, but Cumberland County has the proud distinction of calling itself “home” to the thousands of “All-American” troops currently serving at Fort Bragg. To learn more about the Patriots Past & Present Trail or any of the other trails in the greater Fayetteville area, refer to the Cultural Heritage Trails. For up-to-date information on all the great events occurring in Cumberland County, check out the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Calendar of Events.