Here it is, readers in this area, your second notice about a first-time ever event that has some people who've heard about it excited.
It is the 9th annual Collectors Day military display show, to be held in downtown Leavenworth on Saturday, March 23, at the Heritage Center. Although it will be the 9th annual for the Kansas City Military Collectors Club (KCMCC), host of the event, it will be the first time the display show has ever been in Leavenworth.
For eight years it was in Kansas City, but KC's loss is Leavenworth's gain, as collectors from all over KC, and as far away as Lawrence and St. Joseph will provide 40 tables filled with historic military relics for the public to see.
The door opens at 10 a.m., and for the next six hours interested visitors can walk through and see centuries of warfare on display. It is not a sales show, so nothing will be for sale. Nothing, that is, but delicious "New Zealand hotdogs" for those who are there during lunchtime.
And hold on to your hat for the best news: Going to the event and looking at the exhibits and talking to the displayers is absolutely free. That should fit everyone's budget, and eliminate any excuse not to go and see and talk.
The display is part of the club's educational outreach to the public, to instill a sense of pride in military history by sharing historical items for the public to see. Some club members will allow viewers to touch and perhaps pick up, but viewers should ask the displayer before touching anything.
Speaking of the relics that will be on display, just what will some of them be? Now that the 40 tables have been requested by club members who said what items will be shown, I can share some of them with you.
What to put on his table is up to each displayer, and most of the some 60 club members have different collecting interests. To whet your interest I can say that some items will include ancient warfare, with weapons from Greek and Roman soldiers, hand-made items from darkest Africa in the mid-1800s, flight helmets, bayonets from WW I, battlefield recovered items from battlefields around the world, rifles, pistols, and WW II medical items.
Also items from the U.S. Constabulary in Germany after WW II, the Berlin Airlift, international airborne insignia belonging to a former president of the 101st Airborne Division Veterans Association, trench art from several wars, the Great War infantryman, U.S. Navy items 1900-1970, 20th century U.S. crew-served weapons, WW II Japanese items, native-made weapons, and ammunition cans.
Two tables will have military razors. Interesting story about that one. Two years ago club member Ret. Lt. Col. Mike Sparks was mentioned in my column as having a shaving display. The day of the show a woman from Lansing showed up with a sack and handed it to him. It was a pristine shaving strop marked "US" that had been used by one of her military ancestors.
Page 2 of 2 - She inherited the strop, but had absolutely no use for it. Reading about the show, she drove to Kansas City to seek out Sparks and give it to him. It literally came out of the blue, and he appreciated it very much as he didn't have one. Want to bet that the strop will be on one of his tables on March 23?
And just to maintain a bit of an air of mystery, a couple of tables are not listed above, so you'll be surprised when you show up and see those secrets.
As an added treat, some WW II veterans have been invited and some plan to wear their vintage uniform. So for anyone with an interest in military history, the Heritage Center will be the place to be on Saturday March 23. Don't forget the free part. The club has bought a number counter to see how many show up, which will determine if there will be a show #2 in Leavenworth next year.
John Reichley is a retired Army officer and retired Department of the Army civilian employee.