In 1966 Lamar Scott got mad at a history teacher who called him out because he fell asleep in class.
"She woke me up and asked me a question and I asked her to please repeat it," Scott, now 72 said. "She said 'If you hadn't been asleep you'd probably know it.' "
"I got up, got mad, got embarrassed," Scott recalled. He left school and was walking around town when he ran into a friend who was on the way to enlist.
So Scott joined him.
In March of 1966, Scott enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps, and by October he was a teenager in Vietnam serving with the 1st Battalion 5th Marines as an artillery Forward Observer.
After 4 years, he left. "Stay in school," he said as advice to students.
After he retired, Scott said he needed a hobby so he started Military Collectibles, a traveling war museum that preserves wartime heritage by educating communities around the southeast. Scott usually displays the museum in two schools per month, but the pandemic has changed that.
After making arrangements with Newberry American Legion Post Service Officer Major L. Stroupe, Scott brought his show to Newberry.
From Oct. 8-12th Military Collectibles will be on display at the Newberry American Legion Post 149 at 26821 W Newberry Road from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. On Sunday, the hours are noon-6pm.
Scott and his volunteer crew made up of Vietnam Combat Veterans are busy setting up the display that Scott hauled from McDonough, Georgia.
When you first walk into the exhibit you will be greeted by one of Scott's prized possessions - a uniform from the late 1890s that was worn in the Spanish American War along with a photograph of the soldier who wore it.
The room is outlined with mannequins donning uniforms from WWI, WWII, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard from WWII.
"Every branch of service is on display," Scott said. "And we just added 14 women Marine uniforms."
For 12 years Scott said he has been collecting war artifacts either by donation or by purchasing items.
"We try to do this off of a lot of donations," he said, and encourages the community to bring any war memorabilia they might want to donate.
He takes the museum to schools, churches, veterans organizations and special events.
"My main thought is schools," Scott said. "We have about 20 questions we give to history teachers."
Scott said he wished he had been able to see war memorabilia when he was a student. "It might have changed my attitude," he said.
"History is not free, it has cost peoples' lives," he said about the cost of freedom.
One item he is proud to display belonged to his father.
It's a German flag captured in WWII. "I didn't think much about it until I started studying history," Scott said about realizing what his father went through during the war.
"I want to educate these people," he said about students and communities who are invited to view the living history.
"We do this to give back to the veterans who served."
For group viewing please contact Major Stroupe in advance at 352-256-3592. Admission is free and there will be donations accepted. American Legion Post 149 asks that everyone "Please wear your face coverings and maintain your social distance while viewing this awesome history display."
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