At the Museum of Veterans and Military History in Vilonia, planners will kick off World War II Living History weekend at 7 p.m., Oct. 13, with the “Home Front” music and dance.
As in most wars, the military force in WWII was largely made up of homesick young men. Some hadn’t been away from home and family much more than overnight. Within days of the war announcement, USO Clubs sprang up everywhere in the U.S. as well as overseas providing entertainment to servicemen no matter how far away from home they were stationed. Entertainers also gave their time putting on shows wherever there was a stage and audience – in towns where troop trains paused as well as within the ear range of shellfire.
Big Band music was sweeping the nation as were the voices of Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Kate Smith. Many of the songs from that era were about wives, girlfriends and mothers back home. The songs reflected the war was more than about the battles but also about the sacrifice, heartbreak and heroism that goes with it.
The museum dance will be held outdoors and attendees are encouraged to dress the part if they choose. You can jitter and jive or just set and listen as the band will provide music from the era. One is likely to hear the sounds of Glenn Miller as well as other war-inspired songs.
The dance will end at about 9 p.m. and the day will begin at about 9 a.m., Saturday. The events will include WWII Living History camps, all -day military swap meet, vehicle show, arts and crafts fair. The Vilonia Area Chamber of Commerce is coordinating the crafts fair and there are booths available at $40 per booth. At 1 p.m., there will be a formal program for recognizing and honoring WWII veterans. A WWII re-enactment is set for 2 p.m. Following the re-enactment, a Liberty Parade of vehicles will follow.
The Vilonia Lions Club will sell hotdogs and hamburgers during the events. There is no charge to attend the activities.
Located at 53 N. Mt. Olive in Vilonia. We are open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays and 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., the first Sunday of the month. Also, special tours are available by appointment. No charge to tour. For information, call 501-796-8181.