The 62nd and final 99th Infantry Division Association convention will be July 20-24, 2011, at the Doubletree Hotel, Overland Park KS.
Regular convention activities are planned, including a hospitality room with complimentary soft drinks, coffee and tea and the War Room.
A good old-fashioned ice cream social is set for Thursday evening and The Diggers and Marcel and Mathilde Schmetz (the M&Ms) will be on hand to visit.
The Diggers also will give two presentations about their activities in Belgium. Both presentations are scheduled around tours so that everyone may attend. Times are 4:30 p.m. Thursday and 4 p.m. Friday.
Robert Humphrey, author of “Once Upon A Time In War: The 99th Division in WWII,” will be on hand to sell and sign books and may give a short presentation, if time allows.
The annual Memorial Service will commence Friday morning under the able direction of Chaplain Arnold Taylor.
Friday evening, everyone is invited to listen and dance to the sounds of the 78th Army Band, which has made arrangements to come from Fort Dix NJ, to provide entertainment for the convention.
Members are invited to attend the annual business meeting Saturday morning. A special program for the ladies is scheduled to coincide with the business meeting.
The convention will conclude with the reception and banquet Saturday night. MG Razz Waff of the 99th RSC will address the group. President Phil Benefiel has secured a special guest speaker, Mary Jean Eisenhower, CEO of People to People International, an organization headquartered in Kansas City MO.
Following the adjournment of the banquet, the 78th Army Band will present a special concert in honor of the 99th Infantry Division.
In addition to these events, several tours are being planned.
On Wednesday, a tour of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum at Abilene is scheduled. Additional activities include lunch at the historic Kirby House and perhaps a visit to the Russell Stovers Candy Factory and Outlet Store. This tour begins at 8:30 a.m. and will return to the hotel at 7 p.m. Cost is $80 per person and includes lunch.
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Thursday’s tour is a visit to Fort Leavenworth, the location of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Other points of interest include the recently dedicated Buffalo Soldiers Monument, Frontier Army Museum, the French cannons, Old Post Sutler’s Home and traces of the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails. Military personnel will board each coach to provide guests with interesting commentary as they tour the fort. Lunch will be served at a local Leavenworth venue. This tour will begin at 8:30 a.m. and return to the hotel at 2 p.m. Cost is $50 per person.
On Friday, tourists will visit the quaint town of Atchison KS, home of the famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart. Other attractions will include St. Benedict’s Abbey Church, founded on the grounds of the oldest Catholic establishment in Kansas. It is reminiscent of the churches found in the Rhineland of Germany and a must-see for any visitor. A drive through the historic district, tours of the Amelia Earhart Home nad Evah Cray Home and Museum, as well as the delightful Nell Hill Shop and Railroad Museum and Trail Depot will round out the day.
Guests will enjoy lunch at the Riverfront Restaurant, overlooking the Missouri River. The tour begins at 10:30 a.m. and concludes at 5:30 p.m. Cost is $60 per person and includes lunch.
The tour Saturday begins with lunch at Kansas City’s best barbecue restaurant, Fiorella’s JackStack in the Freight District. Next stop is the Jazz Museum and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum located in the historic 18th & Vine district.
One change has been made. Originally, a tour of Boulevard Brewery was scheduled. However, due to the brewery’s tour policy, this segment has been removed from the itinerary. In its place, a visit to the Hallmark Cards Visitors Center has been arranged.
This tour begins at 11 a.m. and will return to the hotel at 5 p.m. Cost is $60 per person and includes lunch.
Motorcoaches are handicap accessible, however there are some parts of the tours - such as the historical mansions in Atchison - that are not accessible to wheelchairs. There are plenty of “rest” spots and the motorcoaches are always available if someone does not want to leave the bus for portions of tours.
The early registration deadline was June 21 and about 300 people have already registered. However, there is still time to register and attend the convention. Don’t be left out. Make plans to attend with family and friends.
For more information, contact Donna Bernhardt, PO Box 99, Marion KS 66861, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 620-382-3481.