For those who observe its intended meaning and don’t just consider it the excuse for the first barbecue of summer, Memorial Day weekend can be a grim reminder of the costs of war. But it can also be an upbeat celebration of the memory of those who gave their all, if you spend some of it at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum and the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site.
That’s because Memorial Day weekend events at the FDR site always kick off with a high-spirited recreation of a World War II-era USO Show. Beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 26 in the Henry A. Wallace Center, you can revel in two hours of family-friendly entertainment including live Big Band music from the 1930s and ‘40s, comedy and juggling, historic newsreels and more. Dress in your jitterbugging best and have a nostalgic blast! Preregistration is required at www.fdrlibrary.org.
Then, on Saturday and Sunday, May 27 and 28, reenactors in battle dress will be on hand to share their love of history with the visiting public with a World War II encampment on the FDR Library’s front lawn. Period military vehicles and collections of military uniforms, weapons and insignia from 1917 to the present day will be on display. This year’s encampment will also feature members of the 240th Military Police Battalion, a National Park Service and Roosevelt Library living history program. If your kids think of beating the Nazis as ancient history, this might be a propitious time to remind them that the “Good War” was a real thing and that fascism can rear its ugly head again.
The solemnities at the FDR site are reserved for the wreath-laying and graveside memorial service on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in the Rose Garden. Nelson Eddy Rivera, USN (Ret.), director of Veterans’ Services for Dutchess County, will be this year’s featured speaker.
Regular park admission is charged for all these events. For more info, call (845) 486-7745 or visit www.fdrlibrary.org. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum are located at 4079 Albany Post Road (Route 9) in Hyde Park.