Lt. Michael Murphy’s story and those of all Navy SEALs will live on inside the walls of a new museum that opened today in West Sayville on the grounds of the Long Island Maritime Museum.
The museum bears the name of Patchogue native Lt. Murphy, who was posthumously awarded a Medal of Honor for his actions in Afghanistan, later made famous by the film “Lone Survivor.”
In Afghanistan, Murphy sacrificed his own life so that he could save the lives of his team while taking heavy fire from the enemy.
Sitting with Fox News for an interview on Tuesday morning before the ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of the LT Michael P. Murphy Navy Seal Museum, his father Dan expressed his gratitude for the people who came to honor his son and all of the Navy SEALs who risk their lives protecting the United States.
“I am touched by the people who are here,” Dan Murphy said. “I am happy to tell not only Michael’s story but the Navy SEAL story.”
The museum honors Lt. Murphy, and his sacrifice was the inspiration for its construction, but the building is about much more than that, he said.
“It’s not about Michael,” Lt. Murphy’s father said in the interview. “It’s about his teammates and his brothers.”
At the ceremony before the doors were swung open to the public where hundreds gathered to listen to officials talk, retired Vice Admiral Joe Maguire said that Michael Murphy was an example of what it means to go above and beyond the call of duty. He also said the new museum will give the average citizen as close to a peek into the Navy SEALs as one can get without actually going through the training.
“If you want an inside view of the [Navy] SEAL community, this museum is as good as it gets,” he said.
Inside, the Michael P. Murphy Navy SEAL Museum traces the ancestry of the unit back to the early Frogmen in the 1950s — as part of Underwater Demolition Teams that took action in the Korean War — all the way to present day through the Vietnam conflict to SEAL Team Six’s snagging of Osama Bin Laden. Photographs, videos, models and interactive screens tell the story, as visitors flow through different rooms outfitted floor to ceiling with equipment, information and real life military gear.
At one point, the U.S. Navy Parachute Team — nicknamed The Leap Frogs — gifted Murphy’s father with an MT-2X parachute for display in the museum.
Excusing himself from conversation as people congratulated him for the opening of the museum, Dan joked, “When the Navy SEALs want to donate gear to the museum, I have to go.”
The crowds milled about taking in dioramas of how SEAL Team Six captured Bin Laden or the layout of the territory in Afghanistan showing the plight of Murphy and his team. All around young Navy Sea Cadets kept guard, ushering people along and showing them where to go next.
Described by one young cadet as like Scouting, members from 10 to 18-years-old learn the principles of being in the Navy. LT JR Kevin Imparato — division officer for the Sea Cadets and a Navy Veteran himself — said they are based in Sayville and that the kids have to go through boot camp to make rank.
The organizers who built the museum dedicated themselves to a principle Michael Murphy kept for himself, which was “Education will set you free,” words that are emblazoned just inside the entryway of the building. The years-long journey to make the Michael P. Murphy Navy SEAL Museum a reality came to fruition through the hard work of everyone involved, and his father’s words reflected that dedication to their goal.
“Michael never had any quit in him,” he said.