Clay Henry had been back from serving in Italy for about a year when the war ended.
He’d flown as a crew member on 50 missions as the U.S. Air Force in 1944, bombing German oil supplies and other targets across central Europe.
Shortly after his final mission, he was sent home, and was serving as an instructor at an Air Force base in Mississippi when word came that the war was over.
“It was a joyous occasion. Lots of parties,” he said.
On Sunday Henry, 96, wore his old uniform as he went around the World War II Weekend at Rose Hill Manor Park in Frederick.
The event brought re-enactors and equipment from all around to the park.
Behind the main house, a medical tent was set up, across from a machine gun pit.
In the front yard, big band music and the sounds of The Andrews Sisters played from an Armed Forces Radio Service tent.
In one tent, Dawson Plume set up a BC1000 radio, a device that units would use to communicate.
His great-uncle was a radio operator during the war, and Plume participates in events like this one as a way to honor him.
He said he remembers his grandfather telling him about his great-grandfather and great-uncle’s service in the war.
As Plume set up the radio, he was helped by Daniel Cole, 9, a green helmet perched atop his head.
Cole said he’s been interested in World War II all his life, and his favorite general is George S. Patton, because he had a great army and was a great leader.
But his favorite parts are the radios and telephones.
“I’m mostly an electronic person, and this is electronic,” he explained.
World War II history isn’t taught as much in schools as it used to be, said Mike King, of Jefferson, as he stood in green fatigues in front of a display of a U.S. Marine Corps Pacific theater encampment.
King had always been into World War II history, and served in the Marines from 1982 through 1990.
The Pacific theater especially seems to be largely forgotten, he said, with more of a focus on Europe and the battle against Nazi Germany.
Events like the one at Rose Hill can help show people the gear and some of what soldiers went through, but they can’t really show the true horror of war, King said.
As King talked, Killian Davis, 8, checked out a .30-caliber machine gun.
He and his siblings had come Saturday, and Killian wanted to come back on Sunday, his father Sean Davis of Frederick said.
“I’m really into history, and I’m trying to get them into history,” he said.
Beneath a tent in the front yard, Nancy Sweet, a museum assistant at Rose Hill and one of the organizers of the event, watched as Clay Henry and several other veterans talked and shared stories about their service.
The assembled veterans are always a popular draw, especially for children, she said.
“It’s because of these guys that we’re here at all,” she said.