That being said, I can’t think of a more meaningful and historically interesting way to observe the solemnities of Memorial Day than by taking advantage of the nearness of the nation’s first and foremost presidential library in Hyde Park. This Monday, if you’re so inclined, you can stand with bowed head at a graveside memorial service and wreath-laying in the Rose Garden at the Home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Historic Site, beginning at 1 p.m. Admission is free for this event, which is sponsored by the National Park Service.
But if you’re looking for something a bit more up-tempo, this Friday night, May 27 at 7 p.m., the Wallace Center on the FDR Library grounds is the place to be. Bring along your boogie-woogie bugle boy and jitterbug to the sounds of 1930s and ‘40s Big Band music as the site puts on its eighth annual recreation of a World War II-era USO show for the troops overseas. Besides the period music and dancing, there will also be vaudeville-style comedy and juggling, and historic newsreels will be screened. You’ll have even more fun if you dress appropriately for the era! There is a $5 per person suggested donation for this evening of family entertainment, which has become the kick-off event for the annual Memorial Day weekend programs at the FDR Presidential Library and Home of FDR National Historic Site. Seating is first-come, first-served.
The ‘40s time trip continues on Saturday and Sunday, May 28 and 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when you can mingle with reenactors in battle dress at the annual World War II Bivouac and Encampment on the lawn behind the FDR Presidential Library and Museum. Civilians are encouraged to look around and interact with the “troops”; guests are invited to ask questions, touch artifacts and explore the period military vehicles that will be parked around the grounds. Military uniforms, weapons, insignia and vehicles from 1917 to the present day will be on display, and throughout the day reenactors will demonstrate military equipment and explain what it was like for military personnel in World War II. This event is free of charge.
Contact Cliff Laube at the FDR Presidential Library at (845) 486-7745 or Franceska Macsali Urbin with the National Park Service at (845) 229-6214 with any questions about these events. Visit www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu for additional information.