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Veterans Memorial Museum to Host Free Revolutionary War Demo This Weekend
The Chronicle - 9/6/2022
Sep. 6—In 2026, America will celebrate its 250th birthday.
Ahead of that, the Veterans Memorial Museum in Chehalis is trying to drum up excitement around the history of the nation's fight for freedom. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the museum will host free Revolutionary War demonstrations with living history reenactors with the intention of hosting the same event for the next four years.
Visitors can walk through an encampment of folks with historically accurate clothing and props, which museum director Chip Duncan said can be especially helpful when trying to get kids to connect with the history.
The museum's mission statement, "They Shall Not Be Forgotten," means staff and volunteers use various storytelling tactics to honor American veterans. With the Revolutionary War, of course, there are no more living veterans to tell the story.
"By using the living historians, they are able to put on demonstrations about things that were going on with what civilian life was like and military life was like," Duncan said.
This Sunday is the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, which Duncan said was just coincidentally the day the living history demonstrators were available, but noted it is also Patriot Day, so, "What better day to do it?"
As an example of a fun factoid one may not get from traditional education about the Revolutionary War, Duncan told reporters the U.S. flag has five-pointed stars because Betsy Ross, the creator of the flag, found it easier to make those than what was considered to be the more popular six-pointed star. When the flag needed to be mass produced for the war, ease of creation was critical.
"You would learn that if you Googled the heck out of it. But, the living historians, that's their passion. That's what they love to do. It's the little nuggets that make history more interesting rather than 'The Battle of Bunker Hill happened in 1775.' That makes kids snooze off," he said.
Duncan clearly remembers 1976, the 200-year anniversary of the Revolution, saying the nation went "cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs," with folks buying American flag cars, shoes and having parties.
While he doesn't expect the same level of excitement around the 250th, Duncan reckons it will be the last big anniversary he will live to see, and intends to get folks as stoked as possible ahead of 2026.
Including cannon demonstrations, the encampment this weekend will have hands-on crafts for guests to make.
The museum is located at 100 SW Veterans Way, Chehalis. For more information, call 360-740-8875 or visit https://www.veteransmuseum.org/.
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