Those Who Served

President of the Those Who Served War Museum Tony Whitlow points to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in the Memorial Room at the Museum. Whitlow said each name of a local hero on the wall has a photo, age, name of parents and casualty date.

PRINCETON — Mercer County’s Those Who Served War Museum has opened its doors for the season featuring some new additions.

According to President of the museum, Tony Whitlow, he and other volunteers have been working to add new displays. Interactive displays and first-hand war photos are now available for guests to experience.

“This is Max Kammer’s display. These are the pictures he took of the Holocaust,” Whitlow said gesturing to the photo display. The photos that Kammer, who was the owner of Kammer Furniture, took during his time serving in World War II depict the horrific conditions that prisoners of war were subjected to.

Kammer, who passed away in 2010, received a purple heart and two bronze stars for his service. Kammer is also responsible for the building of the Army Reserve Unit, in Bluefield.

“This is the camera that he used. There are other things here too,” Whitlow said. While Kammer’s full display is still a work in progress once finished, his uniform, helmet, photos and a slave-labor made European leather coat will be displayed.

Kammer took these photos himself, which shows the viewer how nightmarish and real the suffering of World War II was. In 1970, Kammer retired as a Leuitent Colonel.

Other additions to the museum include another photo display of veterans from Mercer County. This display includes veterans of all branches and wars and has their names included.

“A lot of the veterans who come home from service did not bring any relics to display. Since I wanted to include everybody we’ve done this,” Whitlow said of the display. “I’m going to try to get any veteran that wants something in this museum, most of them have a photo of them in uniform.”

For a veteran, or a veteran’s family, to have a photo added to the display is free of charge, Whitlow said.

According to Whitlow, the Those Who Served War Museum is different from other museums of its kind. These differences include the fact that the majority of the items on display have personal stories to go with them.

Whitlow, who is not only the president of the museum but is also incredibly passionate about honoring veterans, knows many if not all of these heartfelt stories. A veteran himself, Whitlow knows the sacrifices that Mercer County’s men and women have given to ensure our freedom.

The other difference is the separation from the display rooms from the memorial room. Whitlow says that this allows for reverence of those who have served.

“This room is a room of reverence. These people all died for this country. Some people might want to come in and just sit and pay homage to the people that have passed on,” Whitlow said.

Within the memorial room, guests can enjoy memorials set up for each war. The war displays include the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam and Korea. Audio memorializing the Mercer County veterans lost, as well as information on the war itself, is available to play for guests.

The Mercer County Those Who Serve War Museum is open from Monday through Friday from 10 to 4 p.m. Parties of five or more may book an appointment for the weekend, but must call ahead.

Contact Emily D. Coppola at ecoppola@bdtonline.com

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