To Arms!

Four Hundred and Fifty years of military history come to life on Thursday through drama, comedy and live music as the production “To Arms” takes to the stage of the Flagler College Auditorium.

From the muster of the first militia in 1565,through the centuries vignettes, narration and music appropriate to each period will help to tell the story of how the City of St Augustine was founded and why it survives to this day.

Since the very first day of its founding, military forces have been constantly present in St Augustine under a variety of flags. This fact has allowed St. Augustine to remain the oldest constantly occupied European settlement in North America. In that time, countless stories of bravery and courage have played out in our ancient city. The challenge was to select just a few stories to illustrate the rich heritage, colorful history and diverse cultures.

Pedro Menendez, Fort Mose, the British Occupation, the Seminole Wars and the Civil War provide the historical material for vignettes, showing the impact of events on the lives of the people living in St. Augustine. A band, led by Tommy Bledsoe, will provide music for each time period that is being portrayed. Brigadier General Joseph Balskus of the Florida National Guard will bring the story right up to the present day and tell how the militia was actually the very beginnings of today’s citizen soldiers.

As part of the Discover First America Series, “To Arms” is being produced by a talented group of volunteers who are dedicated to making history accessible, educational and above all, entertaining. The program is presented in cooperation with The St. Augustine 450th Military Commemoration Committee, the St. Veterans Council, the Military Officers Association and the City of St. Augustine, with the support of several sponsors. Doors open at 6:00PM and the show starts at 7:00 PM. There is no charge for attending this fun and exciting look at our past.

The cast and crew cordially invite the public to share in this story telling event and celebration of four and half centuries of our common heritage.

Photo credits: © 2012 Historic City News archive photograph

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