The United States Marshals Service announced this afternoon that Fort Smith will be the new home of the U.S. Marshals Service Museum. Before the end of the month, Director John Clark will visit Fort Smith to discuss plans for the museum and we know the entire region will show up in full force to say, “Thanks!” and to assure him that we will uphold the integrity of the nation’s oldest law enforcement agency.
The museum must be self-sustaining. In other words, no public funds will underwrite the operation. It must be designed so that people want to visit again and again. From the region, from across the country and around the world.
Fundraising will be a nation- and world-wide effort. Outside dollars will come to Fort Smith.
Staunton, VA is home of the Woodrow Wilson Library. Last week, the library gained national attention in releasing some fascinating documents about the Staunton native’s presidency. It’s tough to compete against a city with a presidential library. Those guys know their history. They know tourism. And they know politics. Our hats are off to them.
Our hats are also off to the people of the Fort Smith region. Arkansans and Oklahomans LOVE and LIVE their history. It’s in our blood, too. And it just so happens that more USMS law enforcement officers are buried in these parts than anywhere else in the country. Not only are heroes buried here, but their descendants live here, and they’re proud of who they are. They know their past and they’re enthusiastic about sharing it.
Guess what? Our past is entwined with the history of the U.S. Marshals Service. Yes, this region has a history that begins earlier than 1817 or even 1789. We can tell the entire story of the Service’s past — from Westward expansion to the Trail of Tears, and from civil rights to judicial security. Now, we get to celebrate our futures. Together. As partners.
Fort Smith wins. Arkansas and Oklahoma win. The U.S. Marshals Service wins. And our nation wins. Together, we’ll build a place that inspires young people “to be” a law enforcement officer, a public servant, a historian, a writer, a lawyer, or something else.
Friday, January 5 at 1:00pm in the North Rotunda of the Fort Smith Convention Center, we’ll have a little get together. The media will be there. We want all our friends there. Let’s celebrate. Together.