Local family honors parents service in World War II show and tell

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The National Veterans Memorial and Museum hosted its Inaugural Independence Day Festival and Community Celebration of Honor this week.

The event was to raise money for the facility. The afternoon was highlighted with face painting, games, and snacks.

One family that participated in a show and tell was the Mergels.

World War II United States
Army issued hand grenade
Photo By Tony Mirones

“We are trying to portray history and have a hands-on display,” said Nancy Mergel. “Basically, my husband and I are honoring our dads who were in WWII.”

The family dresses up in World War II military uniforms, fatigues, and blues while providing a show and tell of weapons and other equipment the armed forces used. From grenades to typewriters, the visitors got to experience what it was like to use the tools.

One of the highlights was an Aircastle hand-cranked turntable.

“That’s probably a ’38 or ’39 and I’m not sure what the model is,” said Mergel. “I haven’t done too much research yet on it.”

Speaker for a late 1930s Aircastle hand-cranked record player
Needle for a late 1930s Aircastle hand-cranked record player
Photo By Tony Mirones

She used to be an antiquer and came across the record player recently.

“I just thought it was a cool looking piece and it works,” she said with her voice raising a couple of pitches. “Big band music is something I really like.”

She set-up near the entrance of the museum. When people arrived, they could hear Glenn Miller and his Orchestra’s “I’m In The Mood” playing.

Sure, it was not in stereo.

Heck, it was barely bad-sounding audio.

“It’s not the best, but it does have an audio control on it,” Mergel said. “It can be quiet and it can be loud. You just have to open this little [door,]. A lot of the service guys had this during the war.”

The record player looked to be a couple of years old. It really had not been abused in its nearly 80-year existence.

“And you can still get needles for it because, after two or three plays, the needles wear down, so you have to use a new needle,” Mergel said.

National Veterans Memorial Museum
National Veterans Memorial Museum

Proceeds from the event went directly to the museum in support of its mission of honoring men and women who served the country.

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