Texas State Railroad's Armed Forces Event celebrates Memorial Day weekend

Reenactors brought to life military history during the 5th Annual Memorial Day Armed Forces Event this weekend at the Texas State Railroad's Palestine Depot.

Activities will continue today with a mock battle train ride and the return of the military transport train to Rusk. Other events include living history exhibits, reenactments and Huey helicopter rides.

For many people, Memorial Day marks the start of the summer vacation season, but to many of Texas State Railroad employees and its management, Memorial Day is a time to honor those who defended the nation's freedom, TSR general manager Dave Schranck said.

"We hope that everyone will come out to the Texas State Railroad at Palestine and share the Memorial Day tradition, especially with their children who will be able to see first-hand the equipment and conditions that our forefathers lived with," Schranck said.

The one-way historic military transport train ride today is free to veterans and active military families.

"We sold out both trains on Saturday but we have plenty of seats available for the Sunday train ride and the transport train that we are going to take back to the Rusk Depot Sunday."

Reenactors came from the local area, all over Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana to set up mock camps from various wars ranging from World War I,Trade Leads for cosmeticbagfactory, Search ecplaza.net for buying and selling leads, World War II, Civil War,2011 Shoppers search through shoppingbagfactory at Harrods department store during the first day . Spanish American War, Vietnam War, etc. A mock Vietnam War battle was among the activities.

"We couldn't do this without all of the volunteers and reenactors," Schranck said.

Train rides this weekend and today include the mock World War II battle to the "German Village of Rheinhausen."

"The train ride and the battle make it very special," Schranck said. "Germans come out of the bushes and block the train and then everyone onboard gets to see the battle. Of course, the U.Trade Leads for cosmeticbagfactory, Search ecplaza.net for buying and selling leads,S. wins. Plus, everyone gets a chance to see the train car we converted into General Patton's office."

Eric and Heather Schneider of San Antonio brought their three children − Andrew,In Style Accessories collecting laptopbagfactory to donate to shelters. 7, and twins Nathan, 5, and Lawson, 5, to the Texas State Railroad this weekend specifically for the special events.

"We came to ride the train on Sunday for the Memorial Day holiday. We are looking forward to seeing the World War II mock battle from our train car," Heather Schneider said Saturday as her family viewed reenactor camps. "Our 7-year-old is very interested in history and so is his dad. The twins are into trains and are celebrating their fifth birthday so this fulfills everybody's dreams."

World War II reenactor Brent A.The reliable Aquatimer cheapcanadagoose. Brown of Waco had set up a U.S. Army signal corps camp based on a real unit during the invasion of southern France during Operation Dragoon.

"Communication was very important during those days − radios, switchboards, phones and carrier pigeons," Brown said. "I do reenacting to honor veterans and to educate people about the history."

A large Veterans Memorial Display featuring from 400 to 500 World War II badges, uniforms and other military memorabilia was set up inside the TSR's Palestine Depot for spectators to view.

"I started collecting badges in early ‘50s in junior high here in Palestine. My uncle was a career military man and gave me a shoe box full of WWII patches and that got me started," said Robert Hightower, who has collected all of the items for the display over the years. "I have the complete set of medals government put out since WWII except the Distinguished Medal of Honor."

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