Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Train Excursions Will Honor Military; 'Heroes Express' to Salute Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Train Excursions Will Honor Military; 'Heroes Express' to Salute Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day

Article excerpt

Byline: Jared Keever

ST. MARYS | Memorial Day is a solemn time to remember those who died defending America, and Armed Forces Day is intended to celebrate those who have served in the military.

Many forget the purpose of Memorial Day, however, and turn it into a three-day weekend with picnics, a day at the beach or perhaps trips to amusement parks while Armed Forces Day gets little notice.

A local group hopes to use a train to bridge that gap with a ride along the rails they are calling "The America's Heroes Express."

The business owners and other organizers said it is intended to commemorate Memorial Day in an inspiring way.

Departing from Theatre by the Trax in St. Marys four times each day on May 17 and 24, the ride will "be a great way for people of all ages to honor those who serve our country," said Doug Vaught, owner of the theater.

May 17 is Armed Forces Day this year, a holiday that fits nicely with the train's theme. Celebrated annually on the third Saturday of May, the holiday is set aside to pay tribute to the heroes who served the United States in uniform. Passengers on the train will have the opportunity to interact with actors portraying some of those famous heroes from past wars.

Chris Cherry of Brunswick will portray George Washington both days. He said he has been studying up on Washington's history so he can answer some of the tougher questions he expects will come from the children who ride. He and his fellow actors will stay in character for the duration of the hourlong passage, giving mini history lessons to the passengers.

"It's a great opportunity to get out and see a live performance," he said. "We have put a lot into it."

Cherry's friend, Brandon Herron, will play World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker.

Herron, originally from Tennessee, said the hardest part has been practicing the Ohio pilot's Midwestern accent so he can deliver a four-minute monologue about Rickenbacker's life. …

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