JOUNIEH--As crowds gathered around the structure on Martyrs' Day, the ribbon of the new Independence Museum was cut, signifying its official unveiling. The date was selected specifically to commemorate the 44th anniversary of the start of the Lebanese Civil War.
Former president Sheikh Amine Gemayel and his son, Parliament Member Samy Gemayel, had the honors of inaugurating the museum by cutting the ribbon, along with the blessing of Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi.
Unique in its kind, the museum features memorabilia of the war, such as weapons, helmets, and recreated bunkers. In addition, more than a thousand names grace the Memorial walls, some of them with officially unknown fates yet known to have been taken by the war.
There are also many pictures of fallen soldiers and key players, such as Sheikh Pierre Gemayel and Boutros Khawand, that are showcased in the museum to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives to defend their patriotic beliefs.
The Independence Museum stands as a reminder of the turbulent times of yesteryears, where things were very different than the peaceful atmosphere of present-day Lebanon.
The sponsoring party of the museum, the Lebanese Kataeb, highlighted that they would like for the younger generations to be aware of this reality and realize its significance in how it influenced the political and social climate of today.
Located in Haret Sakher, Jounieh, the Independence Museum is expected to attract locals and foreigners alike.
Although Lebanon's past is often an averted topic of discussion, the museum offers a different perspective on the history of the Civil War and highlights how these events have strengthened the nation and what has been sacrificed in order to get where it is today.
In the words of former president Sheikh Amine Gemayel, "This is the Lebanon that we love and want; a country of endless ingenuity and ambition."
No matter the difference in political affiliations, the Lebanese Civil War was an event that impacted the Lebanese people as a whole, and the museum serves as a way to revisit what happened with reverence and a positive outlook on the future.