County historical societies, American Legion join forces for expo

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    The Anderson Staples American Legion on King Street in Oxford will be the site for the inaugural Historical and Military Expo this weekend.

    OXFORD – A celebration of history – both local and national – will be on display this weekend when historical societies from throughout Oxford County and the Anderson Staples American Legion join forces to present the inaugural Oxford County Historical and Military Expo.

    The first of what is hoped to be an annual event will be held Saturday, August 11 on the grounds of the Anderson Staples American Legion Post 112 at 169 King Street in Oxford.

    As of Tuesday, organizers say historical societies from Oxford, Paris Cape, Gilead, Greenwood, Woodstock, Rumford and the Finnish American Heritage Society of Maine, based in West Paris, have confirmed they will participate in the event. Tents will be set up from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Everyone is invited to explore the Family History Expo Tent where they will learn about the various Oxford County historical society collections and preservation of their  community’s historical artifacts. It is an opportunity for people to connect with those who share a passion for Oxford County’s past, present and future, say organizers.

    Additionally,  participants will be able to meet with local Oxford County historians, share their family stories and get assistance with family genealogical research needs and learn how to preserve their family history.

    From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Doug Culver will talk about “What They Carried,” – a presentation about what soldiers in World War 11 carried with them during wartime. According to information from Expo organizers, Culver will use original artifacts to tell the story of  ordinary men and their extraordinary achievements. The program, which takes in the Legion Hall, includes hands-on demonstration of the uniforms and equipment used during WWII.

    According to information provided by Expo organizers, Culver has presented programs on World War 11 for the past 30 years to high school history students, veterans’ groups, museums, historical societies, and other organizations. He has offered guidance for theatre groups on accurate costuming for the time period and consulted with countless individuals on the identification of materials in family collections.

    American Legion recognition

    The Oxford County Historical and Military Expo is also a day to recognize and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the American Legion.

    According to its national website, the American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. The Legion focused on service to veterans, servicemembers and communities, evolving from a group of war-weary World War 1 veterans into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States. There are more than 2 million members today and more than 13,000 posts worldwide, including the Anderson Staples American Legion in Oxford and others throughout Oxford County.

    Over the years, the Legion has influenced social change in America, won hundreds of benefits for veterans, including the establishment of the Veterans Bureau, predecessor to the VA, the 1944 GI Bill and its 2017 update – the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017.

    The American Legion has also produced many important programs for children and youth including American Legion Baseball and Boys State.

    Everyone is encouraged to participate in this informative and important day.

    Food and beverages will be available throughout the day in the Legion Hall.

    ldixon@sunmediagroup.net