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National Medal of Honor Museum chooses Texas over Denver for its new home despite Gov. Polis’ efforts

The decision is a blow to Colorado's governor, who worked for months to land the museum

In an undated photo, members of Fort Carson's 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment salute during a memorial ceremony on post to remember all Cavalry Troopers killed during the squadron's history. (Mark Reis, Special to The Colorado Sun)
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The National Medal of Honor Museum will make its new home in Texas and not Denver, the organization announced Wednesday evening, despite months of efforts by Gov. Jared Polis to lure the attraction to Colorado.

Arlington, Texas and Denver were the two cities selected as finalists for the museum’s relocation from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

“Arlington, Texas is the optimal location to build America’s next national treasure — the National Medal of Honor Museum,” Joe Daniels, president and CEO of the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation said in a written statement. “All of us at the Museum were simply overwhelmed with the enthusiasm, warmth and level of commitment of those involved, who have worked beyond expectation to have the museum come to Texas.”

The National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation said it based its decision on Arlington’s “location, size and number of visitors, and community support – both overall and patriotic – for our nation’s history. “

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Polis, a Democrat, offered up state land adjacent to the Colorado Capitol for the $150 million museum as part of his campaign to bring it to Colorado. The Colorado Sun was first to report Polis’ efforts to land the museum.

Despite the governor’s work to bring the museum to Denver, the process wasn’t without hurdles.

The Regional Transportation District board last month offered a vacant piece of property between Broadway and Lincoln along Colfax as a grand entrance to the museum. A few days before, however, the board had rejected the idea, but reversed course at the urging of Polis and others

The parking lot at Lincoln Street and East Colfax Avenue that Gov. Jared Polis envisioned for a National Medal of Honor museum. The area was photographed on June 7, 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

“We are hopeful,” Gov. Jared Polis said before the vote Wednesday.

“We have made a very strong case that the best place to honor our nation’s heroes is Denver, Colorado,” he added.

After the decision was handed down, Polis released a statement saying the state should be proud of its proposal and work to land the museum.

“While of course I’m disappointed that Denver wasn’t the final site designated, I look forward to visiting the museum alongside millions of fellow Americans,” he said.

The museum is expected to memorialize the nation’s roughly 3,000 medal of honor recipients and is seen as a patriotic honor.

There are 71 recipients of the Medal of Honor who are still alive, including Pueblo native Staff Sgt. Drew Dennis Dix. Dix is one of four Medal of Honor recipients from Pueblo alone.

Colorado is home to more than 50,000 active-duty military personnel and another roughly 400,000 veterans, according to the state’s congressional delegation.