Let's party like it's 1949
In preparation for its annual Hangar Dance, Richard Krom, president of the Rochester Veterans and Emergency Services Museum, calls upon the community to rally support behind American veterans.
Q: What is the goal of the museum?
A: Our mission is to honor those who serve us, preserve our security, safety, and protection, and to education the public on the service those people perform. Our intention is to build a state-of-the-art museum with many artifacts and displays. With modern technologies, we’re able to do many things that in the past were not possible. For instance, over the years, this organization has held a “veterans round table” for veterans to participate in live-interviews about their service. We invite people who’ve served in all branches of the military as well as law enforcement, fire protection, and emergency service veterans and we professionally record their presentations. Eventually, we will have all of them available to view probably at kiosks in the museum. You can sit at a screen and select someone you think seems interesting and listen to their story. This year, we’ve been working very hard to involve Vietnam War veterans.
Q: Why is it important to tell veterans’ stories?
A: Because, as we have become aware, our younger generations have no concept of the sacrifices these people have made on our behalf. I can give you an example. Sixty-eight percent of the graduating high school seniors this year did not even know that America fought both Japan and Germany at the same time during World War II. Ninety-two percent thought we started World War II by dropping atomic bombs on Japan. We want to offer opportunities for people to become more aware of all these things, and preserve the history for these people who’ve served us.
Q: How are funds from the event used?
A: All of the proceeds go into our general funds. As you can imagine, to get a museum up and running, we’re going to need a very substantial amount of money. In the in-term we need operating capital to pursue that goal. That’s what the dance is about.
Q: What activities and events can a guest expect at the Hangar Dance on Saturday?
A: This is an annual fundraiser for the museum. During the daytime, we will have five aircraft out there for people to come look at and two which they can actually purchase a ticket and take a ride in. The event goes until 10:30 p.m. and its held in a very big hangar just west of the main terminal building at the airport. People can wear 1940’s attire if they wish; we encourage it. They also give a prize for the best costume and we have a cash beer and wine bar, numerous vehicles inside the hangar for viewing, and we have a fantastic dance band. We’ll be doing swing-dance. If you don’t know how to swing, we have professionals there to teach you. We also have a silent auction as a fundraising endeavor. We have a grand march, and many other things going on, but it’s also just an opportunity to get people together with old friends in a friendly environment and have fun.
The event will be held Saturday at the Rochester airport's Signature Flight Support hangar. Tickets are available online or at the door.
Sid Clarke is a student at Mayo High School, where she is president of the Literature Club. In the past, she has been a columnist for the Post Bulletin and an independent novelist. Sid finds writing inspiration from Shakespeare, Stravinsky and Metallica.
Photos by Michael Currie