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September 11, 2007 > Bay Area Militaria Show returns to Hayward

Bay Area Militaria Show returns to Hayward

By Mekala Raman

A series of popular movies brought attention to the relationship of past events to the present and future. "Back to the Future" is an entertaining and humorous exploration of this relationship which we experience every moment of our lives. These movies, while amusing, suggest that an examination of the past can reveal a peek at the present and clues to the future.

One of the major influences on our collective lives lies in past armed conflicts, both regional and global. Human survivors can add depth to understanding what happened while another important resource is surviving records and paraphernalia. Assessment of these materials can often reveal interesting and significant glimpses into life before, during and after the conflict. The Bay Area Militaria (BAM) Antique Show is a unique opportunity to look at artifacts and talk to veterans who have witnessed and survived the wars of the last century and would love to share their tales with visitors.

On Sunday, September 16, about 100 vendors will assemble at the Bay Area Militaria (BAM) Show in Centennial Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to showcase their artifacts, many handed down through generations; from soldiers who fought in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and now even some veterans from the Korean and Vietnam Wars. "It's a big social event and it's a fun thing to share with family members," says Mark Hull, co-founder of the event.

BAM formed in November 2003 when Ed Anderson Jr. and Mark Hull, who shared an interest in military collectibles, decided to run their own show. This one will be their ninth show, since inception of the club. However, they see it as more than just a display of valuable objects, but also as an essential educational experience.

Surviving veterans of many past wars are dwindling in numbers and as they decline, their verbal contribution and personal perspective is often lost. "A lot of these individuals are from a bygone era. They are a kind of living history and have their own memories and area of expertise. Once they have passed away they can't carry that on. This is a place for such individuals to share this important living history," explains Hull. In fact, some of the veterans bring artifacts, but do not put them up for sale. Instead, they use them to help share their experiences.

BAM has, in the past, hosted 80-100 vendors, but 30 of the original vendors are no longer able to attend. Artifacts are usually brought by second generation vendors. However, World War II remains the most represented war and makes up about 40% of the show. Approximately 20% belongs to World War I and another 20% belongs to the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

The show usually draws over 200 people and spans a gamut of artifacts including flags, uniforms, paintings, pictures, videos, letters, diaries, swords, daggers, books, journals, original documents and, the most popular item, helmets from different countries. The show does not feature guns or ammunition. Objects for sale range from $15 to sought-after and rare relics that fetch more than $1,000.

"The show is a way to let younger generations know about these little bits of history and represent the bigger picture," says Hull. "These are little time capsules to remind us of what went on and if you don't know about it you could repeat parts of history that were not necessarily good."

Become one of those armed with this knowledge while striding into the future. On September 16 at 0900 hours it's, "Attention! Forward... March to Centennial Hall!"

Bay Area Militaria Show
Sunday, September 16
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Centennial Hall
22292 Foothill Blvd., Hayward
(415) 921-0667 (Ed Anderson Jr.)
(415) 999-9221 (Bay Area Militaria)

Admission: $5 (Early Bird tickets for 8 a.m. entry: $10)

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