The 6th Cavalry Museum in Fort Oglethorpe has set aside Saturday, Oct. 12, for "Remembering Our Heroes," a day of living history and remembrance of U.S. armed forces.
All World War II veterans, regardless of their branch of service, are invited to be guests for the 11 a.m. opening ceremony, which is set up to offer thanks, explains Chris McKeever, the museum's executive director.
"We take their names, branch of service and squadron/regiment," she says. "Gen. [George S.] Patton, portrayed by Gib Buckbee from New York, then introduces them, and we give them a special veterans pin. There's lots of handshakes, applause and conversation between the veterans, not to mention the spectators who talk to them. Last year, we had 12 World War II veterans with us, and we treated them like rock stars. There was not a dry eye in the audience after they were all introduced."
Later, the men of the "Fighting 6th Cavalry," from 1861 to present day, will be singled out in a memorial service. Families of cavalrymen who died in 2012 may have the veteran's name included in the service by calling the museum at 706-861-2860 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
"More than just the 6th Cavalry family will be here to honor them," says 6th Cavalry Association Cmdr. Robert Fisak. "A broad group of patriots will join us to pay tribute to them and say goodbye in fine military fashion with a 21-gun salute."
Battle reenactments will follow at 12:30 and 3 p.m. An M36 GMC Jackson tank destroyer will participate in the battles, along with other WWII vehicles. A command tent manned by Buckbee (as Patton) will be set up.
An SOS, or "Stuff on a Shingle," cook-off will be held, with each branch of service dishing up samples of the military's most famous meal. Every adult admission will come with three sample tickets to allow voting for a favorite rendition of this classic military chow. A USO show will re-create entertainment by such luminaries as Bob Hope, Rita Hayworth, Judy Garland and Betty Grable.
Events are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the polo field on Barnhardt Circle in Fort Oglethorpe. They will take place rain or shine and regardless of the federal government shutdown, McKeever says. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for active or retired military (must show ID), $5 for ages 18 and younger or 65 and older, $2 for Scouts and ROTC cadets, free for World War II veterans and children under age 5.
A 6th Cavalry banquet, open to all, will follow at 6 p.m. inside the museum, 6 Barnhardt Circle. Tickets are $12. To RSVP, call 706-861-2860.
For more information, visit www.wwiiheroes.net.