POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A vintage arms show is giving South Florida collectors a chance to show off their military memorabilia.
Collectors from around the world are expected to pour into South Florida for the Pompano Beach Vintage Arms and Military Show, which exhibits collectibles from the Revolutionary War to the Vietnam War.
“Our aim is to preserve history as much as possible,” said Steve Shalaby of the Pompano Beach Vintage Arms and Militia Show. “The position of history that we namely seek to preserve is that which relates to military history. We feel that this is a portion of the past that needs to be honored, that needs to be cherished.”
Local enthusiasts gave 7News a sneak preview of what attendees can expect to see. “I’ve amassed a great collection, from newspapers to guns to swords and everything in between,” said one man.
The three-day convention will feature a fully-restored Vietnam-era helicopter, ready for visitors to hop into, as well as a pair of well-known World War II veterans. Carl Muscarello, the kissing sailor from the iconic V-J Day “Life” magazine cover, and Lt. Col. Leo Gray, one of the last surviving Tuskeegee Airmen, will be signing autographs and taking pictures with the crowd.
“Women called me up, wanted to marry me,” said Muscarello.
When asked about the true identity of the mystery woman in the iconic photograph, Muscarello revealed some little-known details. “There was Edith Shade, the original nurse who was identified by [photographer Alfred] Eisenstaedt. She died about two or three years ago,” he said. “She’s the one who identified me. In fact, nurse number two, who claimed she was the one, she died last week.”
The show will give veterans like Muscarello and Gray a chance to share their incredible stories with the crowd. “It’s history, and what’s so great is you can hold something tangible in your hand that connects today with World War II,” said Pat Regis of the Pompano Beach Vintage Arms and Militia Show. “World War II vets are going by the wayside, and it’s an opportunity to, you know, talk to someone who was there and did so much.”
The Pompano Beach Vintage Arms and Military Show runs from Sept. 23 to 25 at the Pompano Beach Elks Lodge at 700 N. E. 10th St. For more information, click here.
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