HISTORIC SOLDIERS WEEKEND AT FORT MOTT STATE PARK TO HIGHLIGHT
THE SACRIFICES OF AMERICAN TROOPS FROM EVERY U.S. CONFLICT
SALEM COUNTY EVENT THIS WEEKEND WILL FEATURE RE-ENACTORS,
ENCAMPMENTS, MILITARY DEMONSTRATIONS AND CEREMONIES
(15/P82) TRENTON – A historic Army fort that once strengthened coastal defense of the Delaware River will serve New Jersey again when the 11th Annual Historic Soldiers Weekend sets up camp this weekend at Fort Mott State Park in Pennsville, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
The free event, which starts at 10 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, will feature a reenactment of how soldiers lived and served during wartime. The actors and their units will represent every American conflict from the French and Indian War to the Vietnam War.
“Historic Soldiers Weekend is a unique opportunity for visitors to learn more about the bravery and sacrifices of our soldiers, and New Jersey’s critical role in the defense of our country, particularly during the American Civil War and World War II,” said Rich Boornazian, the DEP’s Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources. “Fort Mott State Park, which has its own important military history, is a great backdrop for this annual event in demonstrating how the Delaware River strategically protected our shoreline and troops.”
“We are happy to welcome Historic Soldiers Weekend back to Fort Mott State Park, where visitors can appreciate our veterans and shared history,” said State Park Service Director Mark Texel. “From the reenactments to the demonstrations and discussions with those who have served, this weekend will be a great opportunity for families and children to experience history firsthand at one of New Jersey’s scenic parks on the Delaware River.”
A variety of activities are planned during both days of Historic Soldiers Weekend, which is co-sponsored by The 9th Division World War II Historical Preservation Society and Fort Mott State Park, and hosted by the DEP.
Flag-raising ceremonies are planned at 10 a.m. both days, as are weapons-firing demonstrations from all eras, World War II small-unit tactical demonstrations, and live music. A lighting of the park’s World War II carbon-arc searchlight is planned at dark on Saturday.
Among the many units scheduled to attend Historic Soldiers Weekend will be a full horse-mounted Cavalry. Homefront activities will be represented with swing dancing demonstrations and a USO-type show. Veterans also will be honored for their service.
Various speakers will be at the event for book signings and discussions, including Marine Sgt. Clyde Hoch, a Vietnam veteran, who will talk about “Tracks – Memoirs of a Vietnam Veteran.” The playing of Taps will close out the weekend Sunday afternoon.
Participants and actors will be coming from as far north as Ohio and as far south as Virginia to showcase America’s military history, said Matt Carroll, secretary for The 9th Division World War II Historical Preservation Society.
“I think it’s very important to remember our past and to remember the people who served our country,” Carroll said.
Established in 1896, Fort Mott was built to strengthen the defenses of the Delaware River. It consisted of five gun batteries ranging in size from 3-inch rapid fire guns to massive 12-inch rifles on disappearing carriages that could fire 1,000-pound projectiles 9 miles down the Delaware River.
An Army base until 1944, today Fort Mott State Park is open year round, offers recreational activities for visitors, and has historic structures and fortifications on its grounds. The park’s shoreline offers scenic locations for picnicking and walking, and a museum and welcome center provide local and site-specific displays. A seasonal passenger ferry provides service to Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island.
To learn more about Historic Soldiers Weekend, including an itinerary of activities, please visit: http://www.soldiersweekend.com/
Although much of the event will focus on the soldiers of past conflicts, visitors can support current U.S. troops stationed overseas by donating items to Operation Shoe Box, which will be on site. For a list of items commonly needed by troops, please visit: http://www.soldiersweekend.com/fort_mott.html
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