On Saturday, Ruth and the Gettysburg Big Band will bring their favorite era of music back to life with a USO dance as part of the National Park Service's WWII Weekend at the Eisenhower National Historic Site. A living history weekend, the two-day event will feature talks from veterans, book signings from authors, and an encampment of soldiers surrounding the historic site.
"We will have 47 different living history units camped at the site," Carol Hegeman, supervisory historian of the Eisenhower National Historic Site said. "There will be American, British, Polish, Canadian, Russian and German troops. Visitors will be able to walk right up to the encampment and interact with them."
Other interactive aspects of the weekend include a navy recruitment station that will enable visitors to experience first-hand the recruitment process.
"Visitors will even be able to walk away with a piece of paper confirming their enlistment," Hegeman said. "It is a very family-friendly activity."
A full schedule of guest speakers will continue to keep the weekend busy, with 12 different authors and veterans sharing their stories and signing their books.
Local Gettysburg author Donald Markle will showcase his latest book "Intelligence Was My Line: Inside Eisenhower's Other Command," which details the life of Ralph Hauenstein, who served as an intelligence officer during WWII. Markle, a former code-breaker himself, will also be leading a demonstration on a
captured German Enigma Code machine.
Kenneth Weiler, a local Hanover author, will also share his book "Why Normandy Was Won: Operation Bagration and the War in East 1941-1945" which details the Russian front of WWII.
The talks will be accompanied by free tours of the National Cemetery. Guides will tell the stories of the WWII dead buried there throughout the weekend.
Food will be provided by the Heidlersburg Fire Company, which will be grilling hamburgers and hotdogs as part of a fundraiser.
And of course, the weekend would not be complete without a performance by Greg Ruth and the Gettysburg Big Band.
"I never would have thought that in 2012 I would still be playing this music," Ruth said. "But I'm glad people still like it."
IF YOU GO
LOCATION: Eisenhower National Historic Site
HOURS: Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
COST: $7.50 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12, free for children age 5 and under
DETAILS: Weather permitting there will be parking on site, shuttles will also be available from the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. For a full schedule of events, visit nps.gov/eise/parknews/world-war-ii-weekend.htm
GETTYSBURG BIG BAND
When : 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitors Center, 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg.
Cost: Saturday $10 per person.
More: Cash bar available.