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World War II veterans invited to inaugural event

May 2 2019
Matt Combs | The Register-Herald

They are called the Greatest Generation.

In all, 16 million Americans served their nation and the world during World War II.

According to the West Virginia Encyclopedia, a total of 218,665 Mountaineers served during the war — the fifth-highest percentage of a state’s population in the nation.

As of last fall, the Veterans Administration estimated that just shy of half a million WWII veterans are still alive.

Chris Kappler, along with his wife, Cindy, have founded the World War II Living History Foundation, and along with a slew of others, they will host the West Virginia World War II this weekend in Fayetteville.

World War II veterans interested in riding in World War II-era vehicles during the parade can contact PJ at 304-237-7965 or at

Veterans interested in taking part in the Meet A Vet Tent can contact Brooke at 304-222-0244.

Any individuals with displays or booths which showcase West Virginia’s role in the war, World War II items, or information supporting World War II vets can contact Ben at 304-640-6236 or

The event has a vast array of activities scheduled:

Along with the veterans’ tent and the parade, there will be lots of music, including “A Look Back at Pearl Harbor,” performed by the Fayetteville Community Chorus, along with alphorns, a polka quartet, the CODA Mountain Choir performing music from the 1940s-era in Appalachia, big band performances of World War II-era songs by New River Jazz and sessions by the Everley Sisters, who sing songs by the Andrews Sisters.

One of the most exciting parts of the day, according to Kistler, will include a visit from West Virginia Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams. Williams, the only surviving Marine to have earned the Medal of Honor, has spent his life dedicated to his country and his fellow veterans.

“Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams was born on a dairy farm in 1923 in Quiet Dell. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served in the Battle of Iwo Jima with the 21st Marines, 3rd Marine Division,” according to the website for the Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation.

“During the battle, Mr. Williams displayed ‘valiant devotion to duty’ and service above self as he ‘enabled his company to reach its objective.’ Mr. Williams’ actions, commitment to his fellow service members, and heroism were recognized on October 5, 1945, when he received the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Truman at the White House.

Williams will address those gathered on Saturday at 11:28 a.m. and then make an appearance at 1:15 p.m. in the food court.

A 1940s fashion show is slated, along with swing dances lessons.

There will be a victory garden and women’s land army display, a display of oxen and baby farm animals related to the state’s self-sufficiency during the war, a food court and biergarten, World War II-decorated windows and a demonstration of victory roll hair and makeup.

World War II reenactors also will be on hand to share their knowledge of boots-on-the-ground action.

As a tie-in to the activities, Wild Blue Adventure Company in Fayetteville will host a hangar dance beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The complete day’s schedule is listed below.

West Virginia World War II Festival Schedule | Fayetteville

Friday, May 3, 5 p.m. to 12 midnight

5 to 9 p.m. — Themed dinner at The Station

9 p.m. to 12 a.m. — 1940s party at The Southside Junction

Saturday, May 4, 10:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

(Rain or shine; rain venue is The Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Building, 200 W. Maple Ave., Fayetteville; unless otherwise noted activities take place on the Courthouse Stage at Maple and Court streets; all activities are free of charge)

Throughout the day — World War II reenactor demonstrations: Watch as reenactors share their knowledge of boots on the ground aspects of WWII

Throughout the day — Historic WWII windows: Watch around the Fayetteville Town Square for windows filled with fascinating WWII artifacts

Throughout the day — Biergarten, Water Stone Outdoors parking lot: Bridge Brew Works taps great beers brewed especially for WWII Weekend

10:15 a.m. — Parade leaves from Fayetteville High School

10:40 a.m. — Parade arrives at Court House Stage

11 a.m. — Welcome from emcee Gabe Pena

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Victory Garden and Women’s Land Army display outside Wood Iron Eatery, and a display of oxen and baby farm animals speak to West Virginia’s self-sufficiency during the war.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Fayette County Farmers Market, Court Street, in front of Historic Fayette Theater: Growing our own food again. Fresh spring produce available from area farmers.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Victory Roll Hair and Makeup Demo outside Cathedral Café: Watch as the models from the fashion show are made glamorous a la the 1940s.

11:05 a.m. — Fayetteville Community Chorus: A Look Back at Pearl Harbor Day

11:25 a.m. — Chris and Cindy Kappler, WWII Weekend WV founders

11:28 a.m. — Woody Williams, remarks from West Virginia World War II Medal of Honor recipient

11:35 a.m. — National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance (Community Chorus and JROTC)

11:40 a.m. — The Everley Sisters sing The Andrews Sisters

12 to 1 p.m. — Meet a vet tent: Come say hello and thank you to West Virginia World War II veterans and their families.

12 to 5 p.m. — Food Court, Courthouse parking lot: Great food booths offer up yummy fare

12:20 p.m. — CODA Mountain Choir: Young musicians with music of 1940s Appalachia

1 p.m. — Dale Jones Polka Quartet: Dance a polka with this lively ensemble

1:15 p.m. — Woody Williams signs Volvo Truck in Food Court

1:45 p.m. — Emcee Gabe Pena: On fun things

2:00 p.m. — The Everley Sisters sing The Andrews Sisters

2:35 p.m. — Victory Roll WWII Fashion Show with authentic alphorns: Live models show off 1940s fashions and uniforms on the Courthouse steps, and a demonstration of alphorns, used in World War II

3:30 p.m. — Dale Jones Polka Band: Dance a polka with this lively ensemble

4:05 p.m. — Swing Dance lesson with Levi: Learn this fun American dance

4:30 p.m. — New River Jazz: 18-piece big band swings with full horn section

5:20 p.m. — The Everley Sisters sing The Andrews Sisters

5:50 p.m. — New River Jazz: Big big band playing WWII-era songs

6:35 p.m. — Thanks and see you next year

For more information, visit the World War II Weekend West Virginia Facebook page.