LOWELL | The war is over for re-enactors at Buckley Homestead County Park.
There will be no more World War II re-enactments at Buckley Homestead County Park, but the tribute to local WWII veterans will live on in a gentler setting suitable to their ages and limitations.
Sandy Basala, superintendent of visitor services for Lake County Parks, said she informed the Lake County Park and Recreation Board in May that staff would be looking for indoor alternatives for honoring the veterans.
Now, the WWII veterans' tribute, newly dubbed, "Celebrating Our Greatest Generation," will be held in the Lake Etta Banquet Hall June 8.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt will address the assembly, a light luncheon will be served and 1940s entertainment will be presented.
Basala said she is pleased the Morrow Family Foundation will sponsor the "Greatest Generation" event and cover the cost of tickets for all WWII veterans. Other guests will pay only $5 per person.
The popular WWII tribute was a Buckley mainstay event for 14 years.
"The purpose for the program was to recognize and honor WWII veterans and those who supported them on the homefront. It was always named a tribute rather than a re-enactment because we felt it was important that the veterans who were still with us be honored," Basala said.
Still, Basala said she understands the program's worth in other areas.
"The educational component of the event was exceptionally important as well. The re-enactments, encampments, military drills and other accompanying features helped older people remember the past and youngsters learn about this most important time period in our history," Basala said
"I've had middle school age students ask me who won the Second World War."
The decision to not offer the tribute was difficult, but major cutbacks in Lake County left limited resources in not only money, but time and facilities, Basala said.
"The tribute was the most complicated event we produced...For the visitor services division, cutbacks primarily affect our decision making based on how much time we can devote to presenting any given event," Basala said.
The tribute's expenses average about $12,000 each year and netted about $685 annually.
Lake County Parks is looking for volunteers to host the color guard for the "Greatest Generation" event. Those interested in volunteering may contact Basala directly at (219) 947-7275 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.