Motorists speeding along I-81 near Harrisburg in Central Pennsylvania were treated last week to the spectre of a rather scary looking chopper on a pedastal and an armored car with a flag draped over it. As I wizzed past, the man in front of me who was driving in a pick-up with a bumper sticker that read "Freedom is not Free" beeped and jogged his wheel back and forth. We were both on our way to the Army Heritage Day at the Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, PA.
Despite predictions of rain, the day began without a cloud in the sky. Cars began queuing along the service road to the center at about 9AM and by the end of the day about 3,500 people came through the gates. The event was free to the public. On hand were also several hundred reenactors from all periods of American history and a few dozen national guardsmen and women from the local post. At about 10AM three paratroopers jumped out of a plane and parachuted into a circle of cheering spectators. There was also a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and an Apache helo which the gaurdsmen had open and let the kids climb into.
We did the show with W. Britains Toy Soldier Company. Their rep had brought with him a tub full of $2 and $3 plastic soldiers which were a big hit with the kids. Quite a few of the kids picked up the Ospreys, but most wished they had saved just a few more dollars of their allowance for these pricier items.
In the morning, we welcomed to our tent Osprey authors Clay Chun and Don Boose. Don wrote our Battle Orders on the Korean War and Clay has written several titles for us, including the upcoming Campaign, Japan 1945 (October release). Both are on staff at the Army War College which is adjacent to the Heritage Center. Accordign to Clay, the Heritage Center is a veritable goldmine for historians. The building holds the memorabilia, photographs, and personal effects of generations of army veterans.
About 2PM the wind started to kick-up which gave me and my partner a scare. We quickly improvised tent stakes out of banner hooks and secured them with some twine I had in the trunk of my car. Fortunately, the tent held and I wrote myself a note to get some real tent stakes for our next show, which is the WWII Weekend at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum in Reading, PA June 6-8. Hope to see some of you there!