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Redcoats and GIs mix at Old Fort Niagara

by jmaloni
Wed, May 16th 2012 07:00 am

Old Fort Niagara will honor soldiers through three centuries on Memorial Day weekend as the historic site hosts "Soldiers through the Ages," a special event that depicts service personnel from the 17th through the 21st centuries. Featured will be comparative weapons and uniform demonstrations, displays of military vehicles, rations through time, and living history camps representing everything from the French and Indian War through World War II. This year's event will also feature a special flag ceremony on Saturday at 11 a.m., as well as demonstrations of military dogs from Operation Desert Storm.

"Most people think of Old Fort Niagara as a place to experience the early history of the region," said Robert Emerson, OFN executive director. "On Memorial Day weekend, we expand on our usual fare to include soldiers of a more recent time."

During "Soldiers through the Ages," visitors see men in red coats firing muskets mixing with GIs in steel helmets and firing M1 rifles and machine guns.

Old Fort Niagara was established in 1726 and operated as an Army base until 1963. When the fort was built, England in France were fighting for empire in North America. When the U.S. Army decommissioned the post in 1963, the garrison was involved in Cold War missile defense. In between, Fort Niagara played a role in every American conflict.

Program hours are Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Monday, Memorial Day, the Veterans of Foreign Wars will conduct a memorial service in the fort's cemetery at 11 a.m. The public is invited to attend.

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