Local American Legion post also celebrates 100th anniversary
HAMILTON — Historic tank demonstrations and two military helicopter landings are on tap for the Patton Homestead’s Military Service Day this weekend.
The event will be held rain or shine on Saturday, July 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the 1786 homestead, the former home of Gen. George S. Patton Jr. and his son, Major Gen. George S. Patton IV, at 650 Asbury St.
Throughout the day visitors will be able to see vintage military vehicles and equipment, watch military re-enactors, listen to speakers and view other veteran-related attractions.
The town of Hamilton, the Wenham Museum and the A.P. Gardner American Legion Post 194 have been working together to plan the event, which is being funded by private donations.
“The entire effort is based on volunteerism,” said Peter Gwinn, director of external affairs at the American Legion post.
The day also will celebrate the 100th anniversary of A.P. Gardner American Legion Post 194.
The local post was started in 1919 by 15 former servicemen meeting on the second floor of the Hamilton Hardware Store, who decided to apply for a local charter for the newly formed American Legion. The post is named for Augustus Peabody Gardner, a Hamilton resident who resigned from Congress to serve in the Army during World War I. He died of pneumonia while on active duty.
The national American Legion is also celebrating its 100th anniversary representing veterans; today it has nearly 15,000 posts throughout the country and more than 3 million members.
On Military Service Day, “there will be quite a great group of speakers. We also will have a variety of different things to see and do,” said Gwinn.
Speakers will include state Sen. Bruce Tarr, state Rep. Brad Hill, Lawrence Kirby, Don Sullivan, Wayne Burton and Jennifer Williams, and their talks will reference service from World War I through the Vietnam War.
“I am really happy that the American Legion and veterans of war do events like this to remind people that the military is very important to us,” said Burton, 75, the former president of North Shore Community College. Burton served in Vietnam and has written a book about his experiences, “Wayne’s War.”
“My experience as an idealist, to a life later of becoming an activist, is in part an atonement for what we did there,” he said.
Among the military equipment on display will be a 1943 M4A Sherman Tank and a 1945 M24 Chaffee Tank. There will also be a U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter and the Mass. State Police EC135 Helicopter.
In addition to the speakers, the Harvard Polo team players and horses will be in attendance, in light of the Patton family’s history of equine sports.
Visitors will be able to tour the Wenham Museum’s Patton Family Archive in the general’s home, for a $10 fee.