St Augustine collection of military history

Before residents in the city knew Carl Halbirt, Historic City News reporters remember the Volunteer Trowel Drill Team and Kazoo Band of the St Augustine Archaeological Association; whose members were always welcome to dig into the city’s historic past.

Today, of course, archaeological digs are tightly restricted; and, unless you are anointed with a PhD, you are likely to be cited, fined, or worse — if you dare to drag out your metal detector or trusty spade to set off on a Sunday morning of treasure hunting.

This, and past memories of the centuries, make up a little known museum that is rarely open to the public. The St Francis Barracks Historical Museum threw open the doors yesterday, and, until 2:30 p.m., visitors were able to experience a trove of artifacts relevant to the story of the Citizen-Soldier in Florida.

Friday, September 11 was a day of mourning for all Americans; but, this Patriot’s Day, the Florida National Guard announced to local Historic City News reporters that it would also be a day of celebration of the anniversary of the first known muster of Citizen-Soldiers in the continental United States.

Florida National Guard Headquarters, located at 82 Marine Street, and the Florida Department of Military Affairs, remains one of the few state agencies not headquartered in Tallahassee. St Augustine was once the capitol of East Florida, and the historical significance of the state’s military operations here, survives over 447 years.

Cathedral Parrish School students were among groups and individuals who took advantage of presentations and tours offered throughout the day, yesterday. This was a hands-on opportunity for them to experience our military history as well as a few modern additions to the arsenal; including a stone recovered from the Pentagon rubble after the impact of Flight 77 on September 11, 2001.

At 3:00 p.m., a command retreat ceremony took place on the parade field in front of the St Francis Barracks, featuring members of Florida Living History; who demonstrated a traditional Spanish firing detail.

Photo credits: © 2012 Historic City News staff photographer

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