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Fort Sill Hosts Hands On History Lesson

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FORT SILL_Hundreds across Southwest Oklahoma flocked to Fort Sill on Saturday to see, touch and experience a piece of American history.

Out on Polo Field it was an Army history timeline, and it provided an opportunity for military and civilians alike to see re-enactments of every chapter of the US Army from the American Revolution through the Vietnam War.

 It was like stepping back in time.


Historians and military enthusiasts showed up to give the public and military alike a master class in United States Army history.

"We're able to show people an Army history basically from the inception of the United States Army at least through Vietnam. It's an opportunity to see, feel and touch Army history, " said Frank Siltman, Director of Museums on Fort Sill.

From cannon demonstrations to the portrayal of different uniforms, over 10 different wars were represented.

"One of the Army's priorities is profession of arms. And to really understand the profession of arms you understand your history, where we come from, " said Siltman.

Each exhibit had hands on aspects. Visitors could hold an antique gun, mount a horse, hold authentic equipment -- each helped give every person a better idea of what it would have been like to be a soldier in that time.

"So many times people have no exposure to the Army, and the Army museums and events like this really are what the public have to get a window into the United States Army, and into our heritage, and to who we are, " Siltman said.

And Kaci Clippinger was there for that exact reason. Her dad served in the military, and now she's making sure she educates her own son on the importance of the work the US Army has done over the past 200 years.

"It definitely makes me proud to see that we have such a strong history in this, and especially knowing that my dad was part of it and it's just very interesting to see where we've been and where we're going, " said Clippinger.

The event wasn't just about military history, but also the heritage of America as a whole, and specifically Southwest Oklahoma. Through our history we have the potential to learn so much about our future, and that is why Siltman works so hard to keep it alive.

"We've got so much here that's not just about the heritage of the Army or the field artillery or the air defense but also about Southwest Oklahoma, the Tribes because the establishment of Fort Sill and the role it played in literally the settlement and the development of Southwest Oklahoma... that's all tied together."




According to Siltman, Saturday's event was the first of its kind for Fort Sill. He said based on its success they hope to hold similar events.

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