Remembering Our Heroes is not your typical dinner dance

Remembering Our Heroes is not your typical dinner dance

August 31st, 2011 by Mike O'Neal in Catoosa

Remembering Our Heroes is a day dedicated to living history and remembrance of all Armed Forces.

For some, the highlight of this all-day event will be two World War II battle re-enactments staged Saturday afternoon on the very parade ground/polo field where members of the U.S. 6th Cavalry trained when Fort Oglethorpe was an active Army base.

But "playing army" is not the only component of this event that benefits the 6th Cavalry Museum.

Members of the 6th Cavalry were part of Lt. Gen. George Patton's Third Army that arrived in France in July 1944 and was a critical component in the Allies' success during such actions as the Battle of the Bulge during December of 1944.

To see a replica of a Tiger tank, the pinnacle of Nazi armored prowess, that was featured in the cinematic classic "Saving Private Ryan" - and that members of the 6th actually faced in France and Germany - will indeed make for magic moments when it is involved in the mock battle.

But Remembering Our Heroes also recalls and acknowledges the role played by those far from the front lines of combat.

This year there will be a cooking contest dubbed the "S.O.S. Cook-off," according to Chris McKeever, the museum's executive director.

Called "stuff on a shingle" in polite company, the concoction of chipped beef in cream sauce ladled over toast - and that some veterans claim was actually a secret weapon employed against GIs - will be available for tasting and judging.

"S.O.S. must include the base ingredients of beef and sauce served over bread or cracker, but from there the sky's the limit," McKeever said.

After re-enactors have put away their weapons and taste-testers have passed judgement on the S.O.S. fare, there is going to be a civilian-centric re-creation of those days when "the greatest generation" were young.

Barnhardt Circle will be transformed from battleground to USO canteen complete with dancing to the big-band stylings provided by the 20-piece Sweet Georgia Sound.

"There will be dancing in the street," McKeever said. "We are trying to duplicate that sense of supporting the troops and of everyone taking to the streets to celebrate VE day."

In addition to the band performing music of the period, McKeever said other authentic touches will include women dressed as USO hostesses offering Moon Pies and "cigarette girls" offering candy, not tobacco "smokes" in the five-packs that came in field rations, mingling with the crowd.

"You don't need to dress in period costume, but you know, anyone in uniform will be welcome at a USO dance," McKeever said. "You can come to the dance, meet Gen. Patton [as portrayed by noted re-enactor Denny Hair], see the Tiger tank and have a wonderful time."

IF YOU GO

What: Remembering Our Heroes, a day of living history and remembrance of America's Armed Forces.

When: Saturday, Sept. 3 from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. with World War II battle re-enactments scheduled at 12:30 and 3 p.m., and a USO-style street dance from 6-9 p.m.

Where: Barnhardt Circle in Fort Oglethorpe, home to the U.S. Army's 6th Cavalry from 1919-1942.

Cost: $10 for adults; $5 for students, veterans and those 62 and older; $3 for Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts with ID or in uniform. Free to those 5 and younger. Wristbands allow attendees to come and go as they please and will allow adults to sample any three entrees in the S.O.S. Cook-off.

All proceeds benefit the 6th Cavalry Museum, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.