In the eyes of a veteran: A story for every war

The Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, Ill.

They'll go down in the history books as some of the most brutal and terrorizing moments in U.S. history. But there's a place in Quincy where you can do more than just read about American wars.

"I think it's something that needs to be done. There's been so much sacrifice for this country. Honoring our veterans, for the respect that they're due, is one of the most important things that comes out of the museum," Bob Craig, a museum curator said.

Craig's story is one of thousands centered around the front lines of freedom throughout our country's history.

His memories are part of a collection inside the All Wars Museum , on the campus of the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.

"Wars, themselves, are displayed in a timeline so you can follow the events as they happen," Craig said.

More than 5,000 artifacts date back to the 1600s with the Native American Wars expanding into the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and into the present.

"The World War II generation is known basically as a stoic generation. They don't talk much. When they're in here, they talk a lot," Craig smiled.

Life-like dioramas depict soldiers on the ground during the invasion of Normandy in 1944. True recordings from D-Day can be heard in the backgrounds of each scene. Some recognizable from past war-time movies, like Saving Private Ryan .

A travelling white board carries the names of thousands of Vietnam veterans who fought with the weight of the world on their shoulders.

Kruno Markovic is one them. He's a resident at the Illinois Veterans Home who's lived through his fair share of war.

"I've seen three of them. I was born in WWII. Was in Vietnam. Third one was when Yugoslavia fell apart from '91 to '95," Markovic said.

Some may choose to read about history, but here, you can relive it alongside a handful of veterans who volunteer at the museum. You can look up many of their histories here .

You're guaranteed to find an ever changing memorial for the present "War on Terrorism" with our current armed forces still overseas.

"We have had a lot of stuff come in from the returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan. We actually have a piece of marble from one of Saddam's palaces and also parts of a chandelier from one of his palaces," Craig said.

Pieces that provide a collective, yet personal insight into wartime experiences.

"They're serving on behalf of all of us that are back here. That's a gift that they give us while we're still living and a gift that they give to the following generation," Craig said.