ROMULUS – It’s time to Salute the Troops from the French and Indian War to Afghanistan. Revolutionary and Civil War reenactors, National Guard and current veterans groups, Red Cross Doughnut Dollies, Buffalo Soldiers, WWI Doughboys, Korean and Vietnam War Vets – military people from throughout the ages will gather at Sampson State Park, 6096 Route 96A, Romulus from 10 am -3:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4 for Salute to the Troops. They will set up stations along a timeline to show memorabilia, flags, weapons, and uniforms and to provide an opportunity for the public to learn about life in the military through the ages.
The annual event sponsored by Friends of Sampson State Park will have something special this year as the Friends celebrate the 70th anniversary of the creation of Sampson Naval Training Station to train Navy boots for service in World War II, its rebirth as an Air Force training station for the Korean War and its development as a popular state park. Admission to the park is $7 per car full.
“We have worked for a year to put together a special event for this year’s special anniversary,” said Bill Siebring, member of the Friends of Sampson. “We hope families will come to learn about the military and the history of Sampson State Park, and most of all to have fun.”
In front of the Military Museum, special guests will speak about life in the military, especially at Sampson. Featured speakers will include Lewis Kime, Sampson WWII Navy Vet; Tom Kirk, Air Force instructor at Sampson, representing Sampson Air Force Vets; Al Myhill, WWII US Army vet; Doug Daeffler, US Coast Guard Reserves vet speaking about the LORAN station at Sampson; and John Barwinczok, Korean War Veterans. In addition, Fred Percy, Aide to American Legion State Commander Mike Bowen will speak about the role of veterans organizations, John Baylis as President Abraham Lincoln will talk about the impact of the Civil War and recite the Gettysburg Address, and Rear Admiral Peter Andrus MD will make a special presentation to the park in honor of Sampson’s 70th Anniversary.
Musician Jim Clare will perform American Folk Music, Kathy Kiel will organize a demonstration of weapons firing at noon, and Bristol Mountain Bluegrass will perform a one-hour concert beginning at 1 p.m. At about 2 p.m. Laurel Auchampaugh will present an interactive program of millinery fashions through the ages. Walter Gable and Seneca County historians will give a brief overview of the history of Sampson. Following the Salute to the Troops, the historians will present a program, “Seventy Years of Sampson Stories” in the park’s rec center.
Many organizations will bring military vehicles to the event. Children are invited to climb on most of the vehicles. The National Guard will set up a fitness trail so visitors can see if they have “the right stuff.” Lee Davidson of Lodi will bring his horses and discuss the role of horses in warfare and two organizations will feature War Dogs. Reenactor groups will set up tents and demonstrate living conditions, cooking, crafts, uniforms and/or weapons. Blue Star Mothers will have a display that includes opportunities for people to send messages to soldiers. Other presenters will stroll through the timeline, performing music or talking about special features of military life.
Refreshments, commemorative Salute the Troops T-shirts, vendors with military-related wares, and displays by local historical societies will round out the event.
Additional groups are welcome to participate in the Salute to the Troops. Those interested should contact the park or Doris Wolf at email@example.com. Committee members include Bill Siebring, Doris Wolf, Gloria Fisher, Diane Theetge, Kathryn Kiel, Caren Cleaveland, and Francis Caraccilo.
Friends of Sampson State Park work to support the park through membership dues that are used for special equipment and park improvements and special events that highlight the park’s history. The group meets on the second Thursday of the month at the park headquarters, 6096 Route 96, Romulus. For more information about the park, call 315-585-6392.
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