Phil "P.M." Fravel, a local historian and curator of the American Military Heritage Museum at 811 Fairfax Pike (Va. 277), Stephens City, will host a special museum presentation and display focused on U.S. military activity over the years.

The event will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 11, and admission is free.

Visitors can interact with reenactors and living history displays, see museum displays and meet World War II veterans from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Convenient parking is available, and the whole family is encouraged to attend.

“This is the eighth year,” Fravel said. “We started for the 70th anniversary of D-Day and it was such a success.”

The event has been growing each year.

“We had over 1,000 visitors last year,” Fravel said. “A lot of people come back each year, too.”

He’s also glad to see that more and more young people are showing up each year.

“It’s been reassuring, I’ll tell ya,” Fravel said.

Though war veterans can be reluctant to talk about their experiences, he’s noticed that the yearly reunion sometimes brings these hidden stories to light for the first time for their family and friends.

Each year brings changes to the displays and the living history presenters who attend, he said.

This year’s displays will include information about World War I; the American World War II home front; the American infantry soldier and his equipment as part of D-Day on June 6, 1844; the local servicemen’s involvement during World War II; the U.S. Army and Air Force flight gear and equipment; the Battle of the Bulge as the last German offensive in December 1944; the combat medic; the weaponry and ordinance of World War II; World War II and post-war military vehicles; the Korean War and Vietnam.

There will be separate reunions of veterans from World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam starting at 11 a.m. A barbecue luncheon will be provided for the veterans at noon. The museum encourages local veterans to attend, spread the word about the event and share their stories.

The yearly reunion of World War II veterans is especially meaningful, Fravel said.

As they age, he said, “It certainly is diminishing.”

About 24 of them attended in the first couple years, he said. Last year it was closer to 14, but he expects a fun reunion again this year.

“It’s neat to see those guys,” he said. “Many of them still drive themselves to the event.”

For more information, contact Fravel at 540-974-1044 or fravel@clemson.edu or visit facebook.com/amhmuseum.

Contact Josette Keelor at jkeelor@nvdaily.com

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

We will consider two submissions per writer per month. Letters: 250 or fewer words. Commentaries: Under 500 words. You may submit a photo with a Commentary if you like. Email submissions to news@nvdaily.com.