The Texas State Railroad will host its 15th annual Salute to the Armed Forces event at the Palestine Depot on Saturday, May 25. The Memorial Day weekend event has been reinvented this year to return it to its original focus of paying tribute to all branches and all eras of U.S. military service.
The event will feature military re-enactment groups from multiple wars, living history exhibits, static military displays, military support groups and equipment displays by area first responders.
Committed participants include: American Red Cross, Lone Star Military Resource Group, Lone Star Military Farmers, Cub Scout Pack 256, AAA Texas, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 991, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 63, Women on the Home Front, Uniform Exhibit, Texas State Railroad Society, White Cross Exhibit, Vintage Military Memorabilia sale, John H. Reagan Camp 2156, 1st United States Volunteers-K Troop, World War II Military Police Command Post, Military Operating Room, Camp Lili — WWII Communications Tent, Dog Company-101st Airborne Unit, Palestine Regional Medical Center, Texas Department of Public Safety, Palestine Police Department, Highway 84 East Volunteer Fire Department, Palestine Fire Department, Engine 610 and CBS 19 — East Texas Heroes. For the kids there will be the Kiddie Express Train, two bounce houses and a bubble station.
Food vendors will include Shep's Bar-B-Q of Palestine and Snow Coney Island of Bullard.
The day will begin with a flag raising ceremony at 9 a.m. A veteran's memorial ceremony will occur at 11 a.m. There also will be a number of demonstrations occurring throughout the day. The day’s events will end with a retrieval of colors.
At 11 a.m., the Texas State Railroad will honor those who have served or are currently serving in the military with a free ride on the Piney Woods Steam Excursion. These rides are good for departures from both the Palestine and Rusk depots.
That evening, The Patriot Train, will depart at 7 p.m., following a reception in the portico at 6:30 p.m. The meal for this special, patriotic-themed dinner train will be catered by Contemporary Catering of Palestine.
Entrance to the event is free. Parking is $5 per vehicle.
Event participants are still being accepted. For more information and to sign up, contact Janet Gregg at 903-683-3093 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All participants this year will get first option at booth space next year when the American Veterans Traveling Tribute will be on display. AVTT’s Traveling Wall is the largest Vietnam Memorial Wall replica traveling the USA.
The Traveling Wall, an 80 percent scale version of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C., has 14 flags flying overhead, is 360-feet long, eight feet tall and contains every name etched on the original. The total “Cost of Freedom” exhibit also includes 190 feet of additional stand up displays honoring all veterans and those serving today.