John McCaslin

Groundbreaking ceremonies will be held today (Friday, Sept. 26) for the National Museum of the Marine Corps, the first museum dedicated to telling the stories of the U.S. Marines.

We're told that every element of the museum - from its symbolic design to interactive exhibits - is designed to provide visitors with a fantastic experience. Thus, the museum's slogan: "Expect to Live It."

For example, one exhibit will be a room designed and acclimatized to simulate the conditions Marines experienced during the Korean War. Another will feature an obstacle course similar to those used at boot camp.

The museum will be located at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia, just south of Washington, D.C. along Interstate 95. Attending the groundbreaking will be Marine Commandant Gen. Michael W. Hagee.


Days before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, two U.S. Marines armed with a bottle of Brasso, sponges and cloths got on their knees and began polishing the brass base of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial flagpole bearing the Marine insignia.

The Marines undertook the late-evening buffing because the Marine Corps insignia had become "dingy and tarnished."

However, a U.S. Park Service ranger, sporting a goatee and wire-rimmed glasses, soon arrived and informed the Marines that they were violating "SOP" - standard operating procedure. He ordered them to cease their polishing because the Brasso could harm the base.

"It's not the way we do it," the ranger said.

Now we learn that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund has hired the Stuart Dean Co., which specializes in restoring monuments and statues, to "finally polish the flagpole base," says fund founder Jan C. Scruggs.

He says that while the base of the pole has been vandalized and has deep gouges from a knife or screwdriver, the new "polishing techniques will keep the base looking pristine and shiny for two years."

That isn't to say Marines can't assist with periodic polishing.

"U.S. Marines have been polishing their emblem and can continue," Scruggs says, "but must use Carnuba wax."


Does anybody wish to respond to the World Watch Institute's bizarre claim that Hurricane Isabel was a likely result of global warming?

"Hundreds of thousands of people have lost power, water and phone service - thousands have had their homes damaged or destroyed - and all the World Watch Institute can do is point the finger at industry," reacts Competitive Enterprise Institute President Fred Smith.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

Be the first to read John McCaslin's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.