If you’ve ever wondered how being in the military has changed over the course of time, Old Fort Niagara is sponsoring a series of events that begin Saturday.
“Soldiers through the Ages is a timeline event, meaning that we are depicting about four centuries of military activity,” said Executive Director Robert Emerson.
Soldiers through the Ages offers a variety of public activities. Emerson touched on some highlights planned on Saturday and Sunday.
“We start off with a military parade and colors ceremony at 10:15,” he said. “One of the high points of the day [is] at 11 o’clock. We have a small arms demonstration from 1645 to 1945, so 300 years of military weapons technology. Everything from Matchlocks, to M1 rifles used during the Second World War.”
A hot shot demonstration will be held at 1:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. It will involve placing a cannonball in wood and heating until it is red hot, allowing spectators to understand the different uses of a cannonball in battle. The Fort will also feature various exhibits that showcase military history.
“We have military vehicles from World War II and Korea and some from Vietnam. We also have military rations -- what soldiers were eating from the French and Indian War up through modern times. We have living history camps and a lot of military displays that are special for this weekend.”
On Monday, the public can attend a special memorial service at the Fort’s Cemetery held by the VFW Lake Ontario Post 313.
Soldiers through the Ages will continue through the summer and conclude in early autumn. The event trumpets the start of the Fort’s re-enactment season.
“On June 3rd and 4th we have a special event for this season called Rebels and Redcoats focused on the American Revolution. There will be battle demonstrations on both days, large living history camps and all kinds of interpretive activities.”
During the first few days in July, the French and Indian War Encampment will be staged that recreates the siege of 1759 in which the British captured Fort Niagara from the French.
Emerson is convinced that the Soldiers through the Ages exhibit plays a dual role.
“It’s a fun event but it’s also really educational. You can probably learn more at Soldiers through the Ages than just about any of our other events because it’s comparative. We’re comparing one era to another.”