By Linda Hicks

VILONIA MUSEUM OF VETERANS & MILITARY HISTORY

At the Museum of Veterans and Military History, 53 N. Mt. Olive in Vilonia, many stories are shared.

A box was being prepared, this week, to ship to one of the museum’s board members who is deployed. On that note, one of the older Vietnam veterans said when he was deployed, his father sent him a package which took several months, maybe six months, before the package caught up to him. To that veteran’s surprise, the package was delivered on Christmas Eve. The veteran recalled what a memorable evening it was for him and his buddies eating the sardines and hot sauce inside that box.

September is Gold Star Family month. A Gold Star Family is a status that no one wants. For nearly 100 years, inclusion has been earned for losing an immediate family member serving during wartime. The term traces its origins back to World War I. During that conflict, Americans would fly a flag bearing a blue star for every immediate family member serving in the armed forces. The star would be changed to gold if the family lost a loved one in the war. September is a time to recognize the families who have paid the ultimate price for our country’s freedoms. Please reach out to the families and let them know you are there and care about them and their loss.

What an honor it is for the museum to serve as the site of the state Gold Star Family Day on Sept. 25. This event is closed to the public. It is a time when the Arkansas families can come together and bond. The museum will be joined by the Marine League in hosting the event.

The following weekend, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, the museum will be the location of a WWII Living History Weekend. Friday, Sept. 30, is school day. Schools are invited to come out and bring students. The day begins at 9 a.m. with a living history encampment. That Friday night, is 40’s Entertainment Night with an outdoor dance. The music begins at 6:30 p.m. There is no charge for attending any of the events. At 7 p.m., the Penultimate Brass, a Conway Symphony Orchestra ensemble, will be playing big band music, from the WWII era, for 40 minutes. DJ Dys will also spin tunes to top off the event.

The public is invited to come out and join in with the re-enactors who will definitely be dressed for the occasion. We encourage all in attendance to dress the part. You can set and listen and watch or get up and cut a rug. If you would like dessert and coffee, we will be selling it. Otherwise, no charge.

The Saturday events begin again at 9 a.m. No need to eat before you come. The museum will be serving bowls of beans and cornbread or hotdog plates and drinks. Cost is $5 for either. All proceeds go to building the museum’s Peace Chapel. A tribute to WWII veterans will be held at 1 p.m. A re-enactment will be held at 2 p.m. The museum is also looking for WWII Veterans to recognize at the event.

The museum is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., every Friday and Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the first Sunday of the month. Also, we open for group tours with reservations. For information, call 501-796-8181.