Cover photo: World War I soldiers disembarking in Colonial Beach. Photo credit unknown.
This year, 2019, marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versaille, which formally ended WWI, and the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied landings along the Normandy coast during WWII.
The Town of Colonial Beach, Virginia (CBVA), in conjunction with the American Legion Colonial Beach Post 148, Dahlgren Heritage Foundation and Museum, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Potomac Chapter, and Northern Neck Tourism Commission, is commemorating these events during the Northern Neck World War I & World War II Commemoration Day on Saturday, July 20. A full day and night of events are planned to honor and memorialize the veterans of those wars, their sacrifices, and contributions of the people at home; and to raise funds to help support veterans programs and military history preservation.
9:30 am–10 am: The event kicks off with an Opening Ceremony featuring a flag raising with Color Guard from AEGIS Training and Readiness Center and guest speakers.
10:15 am–11:45 am: Educational sessions and a discussion forum with regional historians, including those from Dahlgren Heritage Foundation, will be held inside American Legion Post 148. Learn the community’s history as it relates to WWI and WWII, notably the impact of Naval Proving Grounds in Dahlgren during WWII.
Noon: WWI & WWII Exhibit Opening Ceremony with US Congressman Rob Wittman, a member of the House Armed Services Committee since 2007 and currently serving on the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee. A Flyover by WWII planes from The Flying Circus Air Show will formally kick-off the afternoon’s activities.
12:15 pm–4:30 pm: Exhibits, military memorabilia, Veterans Service Organizations and non-profits aim to foster public knowledge and promote an appreciation for the immense scale of the world wars given the cost in lives lost; resources expended; physical destruction of land, facilities, and infrastructure; people impacted; and the resulting far-reaching changes to the world-wide political, cultural, and economic landscape.
Silent Drill, Marine Barracks, Washington, DC
- National Museum of the Marine Corps
- WWII-era Piper L4 Grasshopper light observation aircraft
- M5A1 Stuart tank from Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles
- Talk by bestselling author John Gilstrap
- WWI uniform and handkerchiefs from Museum at Colonial Beach
- Dahlgren Heritage Museum
- Semper K9 Service Dog for Veterans
- Coast Guard Auxiliary
- Book signing The Dark and Lonely Road by Sean Gates
- Blanket Hearts, charitable blanket ministry providing no-sew blankets to people in need
- Northern Neck Coins & Antiques
- Clear Captions call captioning products and services for the hard-of-hearing community
- Craft beer tasting with Colonial Beach Brewing
- Wine from Monroe Bay Vineyard
- Food from Chief Petty Officers Association
6:30–11 pm: Capping off the day will be a 1940s, WWII-era Dinner Dance Gala, a fundraiser to help support veterans assistance programs available through the American Legion and Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), and for military history preservation programs at Dahlgren Heritage Museum. Riverboat on the Potomac will be decorated USO-style and includes:
- Cheek-to-cheek dancing to a live orchestra featuring the 1940s sounds of Fredericksburg Big Band
- Sit-down dinner (choose one of four entrees). Cash bar.
- Swing dance lessons and performances by DanceFXBG
- Riverboat on the Potomac will be decorated USO-style
- Guests are encouraged to wear military uniforms or authentic vintage, period-style, or party dress. Don’t forget accessories! Vintage jewelry or a flower in you hair for the ladies. A fedora, suspenders, or bow tie for the gentlemen.
A portion of ticket sales from the WWII 1940s Gala will support veterans and historical endeavors, including:
Dahlgren Heritage Museum programs that preserve and promote the history, traditions, heritage, and culture of the U.S. Navy at Dahlgren, Virginia and provide long-term preservation efforts and educational activities associated with sharing stories and interpreting the U.S. Navy’s physical, technical, intellectual and social contributions to King George County, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the nation.
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Scholarship Fund and Foundation, which assists veterans by creating, enhancing, expanding, or supporting high-impact, proven-successful programs and services that enable the nation’s uniformed servicemembers and veterans of all ranks and their families to maintain a quality of life reflective of their selfless service to America.
American Legion, the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to servicemembers and veterans. Hundreds of local American Legion programs and activities strengthen the nation, through scholarships, Operation Comfort Warriors, National Emergency Fund and more.
Make it a Beach Weekend! Colonial Beach, Virginia, is home to the 2nd largest public sand beach in the state. Only 65 miles from Washington DC or Richmond. In-town accommodations range from luxury B&Bs to quaint inns and motels and charming beach cottages and even campgrounds and RV parks! Visit our lodging page to find accommodations: www.visitcbva.com/stay.
Event is made possible thanks to a grant from Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Virginia World War I and World War II Commemoration Commission.