City plans free community event to honor troops and nation’s history
The City of Winchester is currently planning a new event to honor our veterans, current military personnel and our nation’s history. On July 20, 2013, Old Town Winchester will host a free community event and parade called “Salute to Our Troops”.
In addition to honoring our nation’s troops, this inaugural event will also celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the armistice signing that brought an end to the Korean War and a dedication of the Korean War Memorial in Jim Barnett Park as well as the 100th Anniversary of the Buffalo Soldiers’ march into Winchester on July 19, 1913.
The “Salute to Our Troops” event will be held in Old Town Winchester with the parade following the same route as the City’s annual Christmas parade. Organizers are currently soliciting participation in the military parade which will showcase the United States’ military history through the ages, sponsors, exhibitors and vendors. The parade will begin at 1:00 pm and exhibitors, food vendors and live entertainment will be featured on the Loudoun Street Mall immediately after the parade until 6:30 pm. “Old Town Winchester is proud to work in conjunction with the Parks Department to honor service men and women from all branches of the military and all eras,” said Jennifer Bell, the City’s Downtown Manager. “We are thrilled to be able to commemorate the historic anniversary of the Buffalo Soldiers and Korean War Veterans.”
Also happening on July 20, 2013 is the 4th Annual Shenandoah Moonlight Ball, a teaching Civil War-period ball, from 6-10 pm in the First Presbyterian Church (116 S. Loudoun Street). Ticket’s for this tradition in Old Town Winchesterare $5 at the door. Learn Civil-War period dances taught by the Victorian Dance Ensemble while enjoying the unique sounds of the Susquehanna Travellers. Wear period, formal or casual attire.
Buffalo Soldiers 100th Anniversary Salute
On July 19, 1913 the 10th U.S. Calvary, which included 680 troopers and 30 officers, rode into Winchester approximately one month after beginning their 706-mile trek from North Ferrisburg, Vermont. Many of the troopers were sons of freed slaves. Others were descendants of black Civil War veterans. The Calvary was named “Buffalo Soldiers” after the Cheyenne honored them with the name for their skin color, for their short, wooly hair and most of all, for their fierceness in battle. This all-black regiment (excluding officers) was handpicked for this peacetime maneuver and marched into Winchester playing the popular Confederate anthem, “Dixie”. For the next two months, the cavalryman would engage in tactical maneuvers, simulated war games, field exercises and horsemanship and saber competitions for the visitors who went to the camp site to see what the group was up to. On September 30th, the cavalry left Winchester and traveled to Roslyn and later performed exercises before President Woodrow Wilson. On October 11, 1913, the regiment left by train to return to Fort Ethan Allen in Vermont.
However, shortly after returning to Vermont, the Buffalo Soldiers were sent to patrol the Mexican border and later they fought in both world wars and in Korea. It was in Korea where the last all-black regiment (24th Infantry) was to see action before the armed forces were desegregated in 1952.
In the 1990s, White Post natives, Houston Wedlock and Stanley Lawson along with Isaac Prentice of Fort Washington, MD formed the “Research Re-enactors” to pay tribute to the Buffalo Soldiers while participating in community outreach and educational activities. The group takes the Buffalo Soldiers’ story to schools, churches and community events while donning distinctive period uniforms. For the Salute to Our Troops event, the group will bring their horses, ride in the parade and greet the public on the Loudoun Street Mall after the parade.
Source: Winchester Star article by Adrian O’Connor, “A Moment in History” published on September 27, 2003
Korean War 60th Anniversary Salute and Memorial Dedication
The Korean War Veterans Association charter states that one of the main goals of the Association is “to honor the memory of men and women who gave their lives so that the U.S. and the world might be free and live by the creation of living memorials, monuments and other forms of additional education, cultural and recreational facilities.” The Shenandoah Valley Chapter 313, Korean War Veterans Association strives to do just that by constructing a War Memorial to Veterans of the Korean War. The location, which was approved by the Winchester Parks Advisory Board at the regular meeting in July and City Council on August 14th, is in Jim Barnett Park adjacent to the POW-MIA Memorial on Maple Drive. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on March 2nd in Jim Barnett Park.
Although the Korean War is often referred to as the “Forgotten War”, the thousands of living Korean War Veterans across the country will never forget what they saw, accomplished and fought for during the war. The Korean War has technically never ended, but the fighting took place from June 1950 to July 1953. During these three years, 33,741 U.S. men and women were killed in action. More than 103,000 were wounded and 7,140 were listed as prisoners of war. Approximately 8,000 still remain missing or unaccounted for. This new memorial in Jim Barnett Park is a way to remember those brave individuals in our community and surrounding counties who served during the bitter conflict.
The Memorial will consist of three granite sections. The large center piece will feature an engraving of the Korean peninsula and the two smaller sections, one on each side will randomly list 62 veterans killed in Korea from the following areas:
– Winchester City (VA) – Frederick County (VA)
– Clarke County (VA) – Warren County (VA)
– Shenandoah County (VA) – Jefferson County (WV)
– Berkeley County (WV) – Hardy County (WV)
– Hampshire County (WV) – Morgan County (WV)
A walkway will connect the POW-MIA Memorial and the Korean War Memorial and a brick “Path of Honor” will lead the way to the large granite pieces and U.S. flag. Flanking both sides of the Path of Honor will be five pair of bronze military boots representing the five military branches of service (i.e. Air Force, Navy, Army, Marines and Coast Guard).
The Memorial in Jim Barnett Park is expected to be completed in the summer of 2013 and dedicated on the morning of July 20, 2013 near the 60th anniversary of the armistice signing on July 27, 1953.
The Department of Defense is currently celebrating a 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration which includes many celebratory events and educational outreach activities across the country. For more information, please visit www.koreanwar60.com.
Get Involved in the Salute to Our Troops Event
All members of the military and military organizations are invited to participate in the parade and educational activities following the parade. Interested in getting involved? Complete the official event application which is available at the Park and Rec building in the Jim Barnett Park or on the city’s website at www.WinchesterVA.gov. We will also commemorate Winchester’s long history of military service and we encourage historic groups to also get involved in this celebration of military service. There are many ways to get involved:
- Participate in the parade (military-related units will be given priority, limited space available)
- Apply to be an exhibitor or vendor on the Loudoun Street Mall
- Volunteer to help during the event
- Become a sponsor
Salute to Our Troops Event Jennifer Bell, (540) 535-3660, firstname.lastname@example.org
Salute to Our Troops Parade and Leslie Bowery, (540) 662-4946, email@example.com
Shenandoah Moonlight Ball
Sponsorship Inquiries Dario Savarese, (540) 722-8700, firstname.lastname@example.org
Buffalo Soldiers Houston Wedlock, (443) 472-6991, email@example.com
Korean War Veterans Association Charles Bachman, (540) 662-1965, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shenandoah Valley Chapter #313