As one of the citizens who crowded into the public opening of the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honors Heritage Center adjacent to the Tennessee Aquarium on Saturday, it was a remarkable and memorable occasion.
Fifteen Medal of Honor recipients were recognized and honored. Generals and privates who served our country mingled with each other with no one pulling rank.
Of particular interest were the 32 Tennesseans who have won the Nation’s highest recognition for bravery and valor. Their accomplishments add further meaning to the recently adopted State motto “The Volunteer State”. What was only a dream that began in 1986 is now reality. The historical exhibits and mannequins depicting historical events such as the paratroopers who dropped into France on D-Day 1944 are totally realistic.
With the location next to the aquarium, the Medal of Honor Heritage Center will provide a second reason for tourists to visit Aquarium Plaza on their trip to Chattanooga.
Although the prices of admission may be reasonable for small families, larger groups on a budget may have some difficulty to have the funds to visit both outstanding facilities next to each other.
Some thought might be given to giving Veterans free or further reduced admission prices or allowing them to make voluntary contributions. A second suggestion would be to give patrons to both locations a reduction in parking prices at the venues by Republic Parking that has a monopoly on downtown parking. An alternative to that would be publicity to inform the tourists of the free trolley shuttle beginning at the Chattanooga Choo Choo that will take them to Aquarium Plaza.