Peter Falk gave Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in Lexington, Virginia, a big dose of national exposure when his Columbo character solved a crime on the campus many years ago. We always take time to walk the parade ground and visit the museum whenever we are in Lexington. But the biggest attraction of all on the VMI campus is the George C. Marshall Museum and Research Library, which overlooks the parade ground and the cadet barracks. Opened in 1964, the museum follows Marshall's esteemed career from a 1901 graduate of VMI to an inexperienced second lieutenant to five-star general and Chief of Staff in World War II to Secretary of State and development of the Marshall Plan, which more than anything else helped to rebuild Europe after the war. For his efforts, Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953. It is a marvelous museum with a large bookstore, a video presentation of Marshall's life and an interactive World War II map. The museum is designed to educate the public about the changing role of the United States during the 20th century in military and diplomatic affairs as seen through the life and example of Marshall, whom President Franklin D. Roosevelt said he couldn't sleep at night at the thought of Marshall being out of the country during the war. Marshall's fingerprints are all over WW II and the years beyond the conflict and the museum presents a comprehensive and clear picture of how and why it happened and how Marshall dealt with the issues and helped to solve them.
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