By Hannah Neumann
Noting a correlation between law enforcement and military interest, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum is hosting a Military Appreciation Day today, aiming to give back to the men, women and families who have served America.
In honor of Veterans Day, the museum will offer free admission to active duty personnel, retirees and veterans, as well as a discounted admission for their families.
“We’ve been doing this about five years now, and it started with us doing Military Appreciation Weekend in May for Memorial Day,” said Christine Rothenbush, marketing and development coordinator. “It was such a success that we expanded it to include Veterans Day in November.”
Rothenbush said the offer will be available from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, located at Interstate 35 Exit 335-B, and that military personnel will be asked to show some proof of service.
“That could be a photograph of them in uniform, documentation of service, a membership card to a post or just anything they may have,” she said. “And of course if they come in fatigues we’ll know for sure they’re active military. Anything like that will work.”
Rothenbush said aside from wanting to honor the veterans, the museum’s close proximity to Fort Hood played a role in the day’s inspiration.
“We live and work so close to Fort Hood that we have a large military base here in Waco and it’s one of our bigger demographics in terms of museum visitors,” she said. “There’s a shared interest in military history and law enforcement history and so we get quite a few military people through here. We wanted to honor them and give them a small token of our appreciation for their service.”
Rothenbush said the correlation in interest of law enforcement and military stems from the similarity of their work.
“They have a very similar calling, which is to serve and protect,” she said. “Whether it’s abroad serving overseas in war or it’s at home protecting neighbors close by, they both have that similar bond, and because of that there’s a lot of interest in the Texas Rangers by people who have served or are currently serving in the military and that’s why it’s one of our biggest demographics.”
Rothenbush said she places emphasis on family and believes everyone knows somebody that is a veteran, often a family member.
“We hope that they enjoy their visit to the museum and that they share those experiences and encourage their family and friends to come,” she said. “We’re getting close to the holiday season with a lot of family members visiting that will need something to do and so this is nice for our military to get a sense of the museum and see it will be a great fit for their family members when they’re traveling through the area. But really we just wanted them to have a good time without spending a lot of money doing it and we knew this was one way we could give back.”
Baylor will also host a Veterans Day Ceremony at the Student Union Building Bowl today, at 5 p.m., and will feature music by Holly Tucker, and an after party with the Griffin Kott band.
Ryan Richardson, associate chaplain, said he believes Veterans day is important for the honoring and commemoration of those who have served.
“Veterans are those who have decided to give up themselves to the betterment of humanity,” he said. “I think it’s right for us to say thank you for giving part of your life to make the lives of everyone else better. I think it kind of reminds me, when somebody has done something for us, to give a measure of gratitude to them and support them.”
Richardson said gratitude is a spiritual practice.
“Looking at these people who said, ‘I want to give part of my life to making the world a better place,’ I just think it’s important for us to say ‘thanks,’” he said.