The grounds around the old court house in West Palm Beach will turn into war camp sites from decades ago this Saturday.
The free event is set up in accordance with Armed Forces Day, first celebrated on May 20, 1950.
Its purpose? To honor Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches – Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. At the first Armed Forces Day events, each branch participated in “a parade of preparedness,” showing off its equipment and soldiers ready to use it.
Hosted by the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, the celebration in West Palm Beach will take place at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum,
War buff Chuck Richter, of Lantana, said he’ll be there with his collection of military memorabilia.
“This is my way of saying thank you for your service,” he said. “I also hope to ignite that interest that I have in younger kids by showing them actual artifacts.”
Richter started collecting military uniforms, tents, radio equipment and the like when he was 16 growing up in West Virginia. He’s consolidated it all into a traveling military museum.
This event also will illustrate Palm Beach County’s role in our nation’s war efforts, including local battles fought on native soil.
On Saturday, you’ll be able to walk through frontline camps on the grounds around the 1916 Court House, including camps from the Seminole War, Civil War, World War II and Vietnam, with several re-enactors in each camp.
You’ll also be able to see a Civil War .58-caliber musket, a 44-caliber revolver, a WWII Garand and a 1903 Springfield, as well as an M16, shotgun M14 and AK47 from Vietnam. A cannon drill will be held, but no cannon firing. You can also inspect an actual M274 mule all-terrain vehicle used extensively in Vietnam.
Take a break to decorate cards to be mailed to soldiers overseas in the smART craft center and join in docent-led gallery talks.
A gourmet food truck will be on site.
ARMED FORCES DAY
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: In and around the Johnson History Museum in the 1916 Court House, 300 N. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach.
Info: 561-832-4164, Ext. 103; www.historicalsocietypbc.org
Schedule: of Events
10 a.m.– 2 p.m.: smART crafts, re-enactor camps
11:30 a.m.: Guided tour through museum special exhibition
12:30 p.m.: Historic weapons demonstration
1:30 p.m.: Guided tour through museum special exhibition