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Old Fort Niagara hosts Memorial Day weekend tribute

by jmaloni
Sat, May 21st 2011 12:25 am

Old Fort Niagara is one of longest occupied military bases in North America and, on Memorial Day weekend, the historic site plans a dramatic exhibition of four centuries of military history. In addition to the fort's usual array of red-coated, musket bearing soldiers, visitors will see WWII jeeps and GI's, WWI doughboys, as well as troops from the War of 1812, Civil War, and Spanish American conflicts.

On Saturday and Sunday, May 28-29, the fort will present uniform programs, tactical demonstrations, and military music from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors can also tour period camps and learn about military rations from the 18th through 21st centuries.

The event kicks off Saturday at 11 a.m. with a special flag-raising program featuring the Lewiston-Porter High School Air Force Junior ROTC Color Guard and the fort's own Regimental Field Musick.

Each day's program will conclude with a retreat ceremony honoring the nation's veterans.

Old Fort Niagara traces its history to 1679 when the French first fortified the point of land at the mouth of the Niagara River. The U.S. took over the fort in 1796 and maintained troops there until 1963.

More information is available by calling Old Fort Niagara at 745-7611 or visiting www.oldfortniagara.org.

'Niagara's Soldiers through the Ages'

Schedule of Activities

10 a.m. - Meet the French Soldier of 1759

Meet a French soldier from the French and Indian War and discover Fort Niagara as it stood in the year 1759. Witness the firing of a reproduction 1728 St. Etienne flintlock musket.

10:30 a.m. - Meet the British Soldier of 1779

Meet a British soldier from the American Revolution and learn about Fort Niagara's role in America's struggle for independence. Experience the firing of a British "Brown Bess" musket.

11 a.m. - Flag Ceremony

Join "Soldiers through the Ages" as they raise three historic flags over Fort Niagara. Led by the Lewiston Porter High School Air Force Junior ROTC Color Guard and Old Fort Niagara's Regimental Fifes and Drums. (Saturday only)

11:30 a.m. - Meet the U.S. Soldier of 1813

Meet an American soldier of the First United States Artillery Regiment that garrisoned the fort from 1812-13. Witness the firing of a reproduction 1795 Springfield musket.

Noon - Participatory Artillery Demonstration

Join an artillery crew and prepare for battle during this interactive demonstration of an 18th century gun drill.

1 p.m. - Meet the Civil War Soldier

Fort Niagara was far from the fighting in the Civil War, but soldiers were nonetheless stationed here. Meet a Civil War soldier and watch the firing of a Civil War-era rifled musket.

1:30 p.m. - Uniforms of New Fort Niagara 1871-1945.

This military fashion show demonstrates how uniforms changed between the Civil War and WWII.

2 p.m. - Muskets to Machineguns

Witness the evolution of military weaponry from muskets to machineguns, including the firing of selected weapons.

2:30 p.m. - A Concert of Military Musick

The Regimental Field Musick of Old Fort Niagara plays a medley of popular 18th and early 19th century fife and drum tunes.

3 p.m. - Comparative Tactical Demonstration

This program compares the infantry tactics of the American Revolution with those of WWII.

4 p.m. - Participatory Artillery Demonstration

 4:30 p.m. - Memorial for Fallen Veterans/Retreat

Ongoing Demonstrations - Military vehicles and WWII command post; "Rations through Time"; living history camps.

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