Douglas MacArthur wasn’t born in Norfolk, Army life as it was, but his Mother came from a prominent Norfolk family. And so MacArthur chose it as his final resting place. The city stepped up to the plate and chose nothing less than the old city hall and courthouse as the venue.
looking at old city hall; from MacArthur square
City offices were in the building until 1918 and the courts left in 1960. In 1964 when MacArthur received his transfer to Valhalla, they completely rebuilt the inside as a mausoleum and museum.
I’ve been in Norfolk many a time for work; but had never visited the memorial. But I had 90 minutes to kill before burger and beer and for whatever reason, this was a no brainer at the time.
The rotunda houses the graves surrounded by military flags and marbled MacArthur quotes. The rest of the first floor and all of the second are museum displays that chronicle the tale of MacArthur’s family and his five decades of military service.
(pardon the lighting; it was real hard to get a decent shot inside with the way they lighted the place)
by comparison; all our resumes suck
MacArthur’s one of the most controversial military leaders in human history. The museum exhibits do a decent job of trying to portray some of the more crucial issues with an even keel, but they still have a flavor that makes it rather clear who’s paying the electric bill.
After I while, I found myself skipping exhibits because I didn’t feel like seeing the seventeen other things some foreign dudes gave MacArthur as a gift in 1948.
All of this is rather anti-democratic to me. MacArthur is a very important man in a very important and just war. But I’m just not sure if I’m comfortable with having him buried as a pharaoh. I think this feeling gives you the idea of why so many people didn’t like MacArthur or his style. It’s reflected in the way his tomb’s tone seeps into you during your visit.
It will never happen again. Unless America finds itself fighting zombies, vampires, or my Guests we’ll never again be engaged in so global a war that we’d be cool with burying our victorious generals in such prominent ways.
It was truly a different time. Even Eisenhower has his own towering temple and mausoleum in Kansas as part of his presidential library. Maybe it would have been different for Patton had he lived, but I like his far better. Patton’s buried in Luxemburg under a simple white cross alongside five thousand fellow Americans.
MacArthur’s next door neighbor; if you save humanity from evil, they name a shopping mall after you; note the lack of people, I was the only person visiting at the time; although it was late afternoon on a random weekday