The Legion of Valor tells the story of America’s heroes

Posted by Gretchen Moore

Monday is Memorial Day – a time to honor US military men and women who died while in military service.  It is a time to pay tribute to the 1.3 million American service personnel who have been casualties of war.


Fresno’s residents and visitors, alike, should visit the Legion of Valor Museum at Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium at 2425 Fresno Street (across from the Water Tower).


The Legion of Valor is made up of members of the US Military who have received one of the following awards:

  • Medal of Honor
  • Distinguished Service Cross
  • Navy Cross
  • Air Force Cross

These awards are presented to service members who have displayed extraordinary heroism, or “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty.”

Sadly, many of these decorations are awarded posthumously.


The Legion of Valor holds annual conferences around the country, but the national museum is right here in downtown Fresno. The museum houses photographs, memorabilia and exhibits that tell the story of America’s wars as seen by individual soldiers, sailors and airmen. The museum exists to show the public WHY America has been involved in so many conflicts and to tell the incredible stories behind those conflicts.


Hotchkiss Machine Gun, late 1800s

You can expect to see actual uniforms dating back to the 1800’s; Civil War cannons; letters from soldiers to their families; draft notices; gas masks; a room filled with artifacts from prisoners of war; a Navy spyglass; the ship’s bell from the USS Menard (1944); a library full of military history books and videos; and a Hotchkiss Machine Gun from the late 1800’s. It is an incredible collection that tells a very personal story of our nation’s heroes.


Ship’s Bell: USS Menard WWII     


Memorabilia Room    


US Navy Spyglass

What makes it so remarkable is that this museum is curated and run entirely by volunteers who have collected items from all over the world. Docent staff are all veterans (from World War II through the present) and can give firsthand accounts of their experiences from World War II through Desert Storm. Visiting the museum is a very humbling and very personal experience and a great way to get to know our military history on this Memorial Day.


Legion of Valor Museum Volunteers & Staff

The museum is open all year, Monday through Saturday from 10am to 3pm.

Admission is always free, making it a great event for the whole family.

Learn more at


Gatling Gun Circa 190


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