About the Branson Veterans Memorial Museum
The vision of a rural Nebraska man, Fred Hoppe, has created what the Veterans Task Force calls one of the “greatest tributes ever completed to honor our country’s veterans!”
Fred Hoppe was inspired by the stories and sacrifices he heard about from his father (Fred Sr.) and the men that fought alongside his father during some of World War II’s bloodiest battles. Fred Hoppe Sr., is honored with a mural and a special exhibit in the museum depicting his heroic rescue of a wounded fellow soldier. .
Along with designing, funding, and building the Veterans Memorial Museum in Branson, Missouri, Fred Hoppe also collected and then wrote the scripts for over 2000 rare military artifacts he donated for use to the museum. After spending four years trying to raise money for a memorial to honor the veterans of the 20th Century and with over 36 foundations turning him down, Fred says, “It became apparent that I would have to take things into my own hands. The experts kept telling me that it would take six years to complete a project of this magnitude, however with our veterans dying at a rate of over one thousand per day, I was driven to finish this project quickly.”
Fred Hoppe Sr Display Fred worked 18-hour days, seven days a week, living up to his pledge to complete the project in just 10 months. The museum officially opened on November 11, 2000.
Designing and participating in the construction of the building, Hoppe even cut up 70 tons of logs in a homemade sawmill in his backyard to provide siding and lumber for the museum’s 18,000 square feet building. “Along with saving money, this allowed me to personally make sure that every aspect of the building reflected the quality our veterans deserve,” said Hoppe.
After researching and interviewing veterans for over 25 years, Hoppe personally wrote the scripts for each of the displays. Arranging with combat artist James Dietz, Mike Hagel, and others to create dozens of combat murals, Hoppe has painstakingly detailed the history of our nations valiant fight for our liberties during the 20th Century.
The exhibits in the museum cover WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and all other recent conflicts during the 20th Century. The center great hall of the museum contains the 50-statue sculpture and the wall surrounding it list over 400,000 names of the men and women killed in action during WWII. Throughout the museum the walls of each great hall contain the names of those killed in action during Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and other conflicts of the 20th Century.
Hoppe states, “Along with the Veterans Memorial Museum being an artistic memorial to our veterans, we want to evoke from our visitors an emotional response to the far reaching implications of war and the undeniable courage of those who stood strong in the face of the enemy. Above all, this memorial is a gesture of thanks to all who died to defend these freedoms we enjoy today.”