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HAWTHORNE, Nev. — There is so much going on for the 2011 “Support – Honor – Remember” themed Armed Forces Day celebration in Hawthorne, Nevada – activities fill both sides of fliers, some events are getting started a whole week early and Armed Forces Day Youth Events has its own Facebook page. It’s the bomb!
Hawthorne Historically Significant
Armed Forces Day in Hawthorne is usually a pretty big deal. After all, the town was selected to house the Ammunition Depot after a 1926 explosion in New Jersey Ammunition Depot took a heavy toll on both life and property.
According to a story on the history of Hawthorne by Heidi Bunch of the Mineral County Independent-News, a spirited discussion followed that New Jersey munitions disaster. It was decided that storage of such hazardous materials should be placed far away from population centers.
The Nevada desert was finally selected and the Naval Ammunition Depot Hawthorne was commissioned in 1930 in the then tiny town. The population exploded when construction workers then government personnel moved to Hawthorne.
This year marks the 61st annual Armed Forces Day Celebration and it has become a REALLY BIG deal in Hawthorne, America’s Patriotic Home.
Simply called “The Base” by locals, the Hawthorne Ammunition Depot is said to be the largest ammunition storage facility in the world. It covers 147,000 acres of Nevada desert directly south of Walker Lake.
Huge Plans for Armed Forces Day
Armed Forces Day officially starts with Opening Ceremonies on Friday, May 20, at 6 p.m. on the Mineral County High School football field at the corner of 5th and “A” streets in Hawthorne.
Those ceremonies include National Veterans of Foreign Wars Sr. Vice Commander Rich Denoyer’s dedication of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute (AVTT) exhibit which includes statistics from every war and conflict in which the U.S. has been involved, and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s dedication of the Freedom Range.
Perhaps the most familiar tribute you’ll see included in the AVTT is the Traveling Vietnam Wall, an 80 percent replica (the largest) of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.
The AVTT display will remain at the football field through 1 p.m. Sun., May 22, and is available for viewing 24 hours a day.
A Parade & So Much More
The impressive parade during Armed Forces Day usually gets most of the town to the route each year, but this year nobody will miss it.
This year, 21 year-old career Army SPEC 4 Timothy M. Hall, who grew up in Hawthorne and lost both his legs and his right hip in Afghanistan in June of last year, is the Grand Marshall. He’ll take a break from his two-year rehab at Walter Reed Medical Center to be honored in his hometown parade.
Cecil the Serpent, a 12-foot-tall, 100-foot-long Hawthorne mascot based on a Paiute legend of Walker Lake, is a parade favorite and he will be on hand to keep kids of all ages happy.
Fun for All But Special Fun for Families and Kids
In addition to all the adult entertainment including exhibits and vendors along Main Street, special Armed Forces Day Family Friendly Events have been created by a unique committee. Nearly all kid and youth activities are free.
An AFD Youth Hangout will be going on all day Sat., May 21, at the Hawthorne Arts & Cultural Center. Games, music and other activities will be available at the Youth Hangout.
Other events include a dance for middle school youth with live DJ on Fri., May 13, an art show, a patriotic music program, fire department water fights, museum tours, movie nights in the park, a kids patriotic pajamas & wheels parade at the local hospital for patients and staff who won’t be able to attend other events, kids games in the park sponsored by Circus Circus in Reno. A talent showcase for locals will be at the Junior High gym.
Family friendly events take place at Hawthorne, Nevada’s Arts & Cultural Center, Veterans Park (the site of kids games with more than a thousand gifts for winners supplied by Reno’s kid friendly Circus Circus Casino, the Ordnance Museum, Mt. Grant General Hospital, Mineral County High School Football Field, the High School Gym Parking Lot and Main Street between 5th and 10th streets.
For more information on Hawthorne’s Armed Forces Day Celebration, parade entries or vendor applications visit www.mineralcountychamber.com.
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