The theme of this year’s event is the Vietnam War and there will be many reminders of what our military men and women endured in Southeast Asia during those turbulent times.
Perhaps the most tangible memorial to the vets will be the vintage military and gear exhibit at the gate leading into Festival Park.
Ron Wolfe, who has organized past displays of military memorabilia for Glory Days, says this one will be “bigger than ever.”
Wolfe, a Vietnam veteran himself, says displays of gear from the Vietnam conflict will include an M151 Jeep that is a part of his personal collection.
“It’s just like the one I drove around in when I was in Vietnam,” said Wolfe.
Among other Vietnam-era displays will be a GP Small Tent of the type used in ‘Nam, and equipment and field gear from the war, including those “beloved” C-rations that kept the troops alive despite the notoriously nasty taste.
Since Glory Days was founded to honor all troops, not just Vietnam vets, there will also be equipment from past wars, including a 1942 WLA Harley Davidson — which was a military police vehicle; a World War II CCKW 2 1/2-ton truck; a World War II Jeep with a Pack howitzer; and, a World War II-era German truck called a Kubel, which was built by Volkswagen.
If you and your family are interested in less martial displays, there will be a pancake breakfast; an American bake sale; a Classic Car Cruise-in at Festival Park; live music on stage at Festival Park; the N.C. State Cyclists Criterium Championship; members of the Swampdogs baseball team at the Kids Corner; Up & Coming Weekly’s Shout Out Contest on May 25; a Sunday Movie in the Park, featuring Good Morning Vietnam — also on May 25, featuring free admission, free popcorn and other free stuff; carriage rides and food, arts and crafts concessions ... and more.
Good Morning Vietnam is a Robin Williams vehicle in which he plays true-to-life Vietnam DJ Adrian Cronauer, assigned to take over the AFR’s Saigon radio broadcasts. In contrast to the dull, by-rote announcers that have preceded him, Cronauer is a bundle of dynamite, heralding each broadcast with a loud “Goooooood morning, Vietnaaaaam.”
Cronauer’s popularity is such that he enjoys the full protection of the higher-ups. But when Cronauer insists upon telling his listeners the truth about the horrors of war instead of the official government line, he is replaced and must struggle to get back on the air.
It’s a movie perfect for the Vietnam-themed Glory Days, an event which is meant to be both lighthearted and solemn in its remembrance of lives lost and changed by war.
“I’m really excited about this edition of Glory Days,” said Larry Clubine, the event chairman. “We’ll have the best lineup we’ve ever had on the stage and some great homemade baked goods, which we haven’t had before.”
Stage performers will be Irie Muse, Paddy Gibney with Big Daddy Drive, the Henry Huffman Band, Fayetteville’s own Ethan Hanson, and the well-known Heritage Restoration Chorale — a group dedicated to keeping alive the negro spiritual.
And of course, all this will be backlit by the 1,800 flags waving in the Field of Honor.
Fayetteville City Councilman Keith Bates, who was instrumental in bringing the Field of Honor to Fayetteville, hopes the display of flags will be an annual event.
“I’ll do my best to make sure it’s back,” said Bates. “Glory Days is just fantastic. It’s special to me because I served in the military, my father served and one of my sons serves while another is in boot camp.”