We cannot begin this newsletter without acknowledging the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, April 30, 1975. To all of our military who served, but especially those who served “in country,” we say a heartfelt, “WELCOME HOME” and “THANK YOU” for your sacrifice and the sacrifice of those, your friends and comrades, whose names are written on the Wall.

The purpose of the Patriot Freedom Festival is to honor our fallen heroes; remember the sacrifices and welcome home all of our veterans from all eras; support our troops and their families; educate the public about our military history and veterans’ history; promote patriotism and invite and involve the community in this effort, as well as to reveal the great history of the Dayton VA Campus, built by Civil War Veterans and dedicated to the health and welfare of them all.

The Patriot Freedom Festival is the premiere event hosted by the American Veterans Heritage Center. The Festival highlights some of the work that AVHC has been a part of at the Dayton VA campus. Attendees learn from the various military reenactors, displays, and tours, about the Historic campus, and our Veterans accomplishments, sacrifices, and military history. We intend to inspire and educate our visitors, and highlight the preservation of our campus and Veterans’ history. We hope everyone will be enlightened by this experience and understand the importance of our Veterans and this historic campus.

The 11th Annual Patriot Freedom Festival – May 23-24, 2015 – 11 AM – 6 PM daily: open to the public and FREE entry and parking! We have food and vendors, free entertainment and activities. The kids will enjoy free barrel train rides, visit the ThinkTV table to learn with Sid the Science Kid, and enjoy trying on an Army Helmet and flak jacket, learn the military songs for each branch of service, and learn about the history of Memorial Day and the Medal of Honor.

CEREMONIES

We begin with our Opening Ceremony at 11AM Saturday in the Band Stand (built early 1870’s) – the Opening Ceremony honors many individual veterans and includes an awards ceremony for the annual area Students’ Veteran-themed art contest, led by award-winning Stivers teacher, Bridget Federspiel (Newbury)

4 Freedom Equestrian Team performs a Military POW drama on Saturday and Sunday
A Civil War era baptism in the Protestant Chapel (built 1868) on Saturday, (all are welcome)
Saturday, 6 PM, an Interfaith Memorial Service in the newly restored “Grotto & Gardens”
Blue Star Mothers of the Miami Valley Chapter 3 annual “Flag Refresh” Ceremony with the 4 Freedom Equestrian Team, and Gold Star Wives in attendance on Sunday, and then
The Gold Star Wives of the Miami Valley Memorial Service to honor fallen service members
The winners of the 24th annual Dayton ASALH/DLAMC-DEA essay contest will read their winning essays and receive their awards from Abe Lincoln! (Association for the Study of African American Life and History) – Margaret Peters

ATTRACTIONS

The 4 Freedom Equestrian Team
Reenactors from the Civil War to present – including the 5th Ohio Light Artillery when they shoot their big artillery
Miami Valley Military History Museum – open all weekend
Bus Tour of the Campus and Tours of the restored Grotto & Gardens
Clowns giving out free balloons!
Disc Golf (Frisbee Golf) games
Discover your military ancestry with Genealogist Carolyn Burns!
Grotto and Gardens

VENDORS

FOOD: Ice Cream, Pies & Cakes, Funnel cakes, Smoothies, Coney Dogs, Polish sausage, Fish, Chicken, Tenderloin, Barb-Q, Cheese steaks, hamburgers, French fries and more!
AUTHORS: Linda Swink, Curt Dalton
OTHER VENDORS: Stuff A Buddy & Designs by Debbi, Therapeutic Jewelry, Pampered Chef, Just for You Jewelry, JRR Home Improvements LLC, Englewood Insurance Agency, Lia Sophia Jewelry, Universal Windows Direct, Recipes in a Jar, Mary Kay, Oil Lady, Tastefully Simple, PJ’s Originals
And more registering all the time!
NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
Women Veterans of America Chapter 6 Dayton
Community Action Partnership
Dogs on Deployment
Association of United States Army
American Red Cross Dayton Area Chapter
Dayton VA Emergency Department
Dayton VA Outreach Team
Dayton VA Suicide Prevention
Veterans Mental Health Advocacy Council
Teletha’s Hope
DAYTON Police Department
DAYTON Fire Department
Oldies 97.3 Broadcasting on-site

LIVING HISTORIANS and REENACTORS

Jon Frye, WWI Historian
James Crabtree as President Lincoln
101st Airborne WWII Reenacting Association
Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), Richard Montgomery Chapter
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Jonathan Dayton Chapter
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) William T. Sherman Camp No. 93
Gary Chambers as General Robert E. Lee
Herb Pfaff as General Ulysses S. Grant
Rick Williams as General George Armstrong Custer
5th Ohio Light Artillery
G Co. 3/505th PIR (Pathfinder), 82nd Airborne Division
Wayne Coulter, Third Army Living Historians Group
League of WWI Aviation Historians
Ken and Kristen Hoelscher WWII History
The Ohio Valley Civil War Association (OVCWA)
The Lincoln Society of Dayton
Miami Valley Military History Museum will be open all weekend