Memorial Day weekend is always a peak time to visit the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum and the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site – especially if you have fond memories of the Greatest Generation or nostalgia for the sense of unified national purpose that characterized the World War II years. Jitterbuggers should start shining their dancing shoes for the annual USO Show that kicks off the weekend’s events in the Henry A. Wallace Center on Friday, May 27 at 7 p.m. The two hours of free, family-friendly entertainment include live Big Band music from the 1930s and ’40s, comedy and juggling, historic newsreels and more.
If your boogie-woogie bugle boy still loves Jeeps and tanks and shiny medals, drag him along to the World War II encampment on the FDR Library grounds on Saturday and Sunday, May 28 and 29. It’s the historic site’s 25th anniversary weekend of historic military displays, and a fully restored German Army 1936 DKW NZ 250 motorcycle will be one of the specially featured pieces of war memorabilia on view. Members of the 240th Military Police Battalion, a National Park Service and Roosevelt Library living history program, will be on hand all weekend to present the history of their unit and demonstrate military equipment, including a period communications system.
On Saturday at 4 p.m., local historian Carney Rhinevault, author of The History of Hyde Park-on-Hudson, will give an author talk in the Wallace Center. And as always, the annual time trip to the 1940s will wind up with a graveside service and wreath-laying ceremony in the Rose Garden on Memorial Day itself, May 30 at 1:30 p.m. Park superintendent Sarah Olson will be this year’s featured speaker.
Admission is free to all Memorial Day weekend events at the FDR site, located at 4079 Albany Post Road in Hyde Park; but you’ll be charged the usual admission fee if you wish to tour the FDR home, presidential library and museum. For more info, call (845) 486-7745 or visit www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu.