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Playtime And History Mixed At Soldiers And Sailors Celebrations

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

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OAKLAND (KDKA) — There was face paint, a parachute and more at Soldiers and Sailors Hall on Memorial Day.

The traditional “Thank you” drew visitors young and old.

Museum curator Michael Kraus played the role of Civil War drill sergeant for a battalion of young volunteers, as other kids get patriotic paint jobs, and make necklaces of red, white and blue.

Memorial Day is a mix of playtime and history.

Tom Thompson, displaying a parachute, logged nearly 1,000 jumps in 10 years with the 82nd Airborne.

He recalls a comrade who broke his knees, jumping in Grenada.

“The hard charger he is, he got a couple pieces of wood and some duct tape, duct taped his legs up, and he continued with the mission,” he said.

Young drummers represented African American soldiers who fought and died for their freedom during the Civil War.

“Not only do we teach them drums, but we also teach them history,” says museum historian John Ford. “We want them to understand and know who they are, and where they come from.”

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