SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY (02/27/2018) (readMedia)-- A free movie is on tap at the New York State Military Museum on Saturday, March 3 at 2 p.m.
Museum visitors will be treated to a special screening of the 1940 movie "The Fighting 69th" hosted by Bert Cunningham, the regimental historian of the New York National Guard's 69th Infantry Regiment.
The 69th Infantry was formed as an Irish-American militia regiment before the Civil War and leads the annual New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade each year. The unit's Soldiers have fought in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Iraq and Afghanistan. They've also responded to state emergencies including the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
The movie stars James Cagney and Pat O'Brien and is loosely based on the real-life exploits of the 69th Infantry during World War I.
During World War I the regiment was mobilized, renamed the 165th Infantry, and became part of the 42nd Infantry Division, or Rainbow Division. The division got its name because it was made up of National Guard units from 26 states and stretched across the country "like a Rainbow"
Cunningham will introduce the film and discuss its historical accuracy.
Items from the museum's collection which touch on the history of the unit, and the film, will also be on display Saturday.
These include a uniform worn by Col. William "Wild Bill" Donovan, the commander of one of the regiment's battalions. The Medal of Honor Donovan received for heroism on the battlefield will also be included.
The overseas cap and priests stole used by Father (Capt.) Francis Duffy, the 69th Infantry's chaplain will also be on display.
Finally the crucifix carried by Sgt. Joyce Kilmer, the author of the poem "Trees" and a noted magazine editor in the early 20th century, will also be on display. Kilmer, a devote Catholic, served in the regiment's intelligence section and was killed in action.
All three of these historical figures are portrayed in the movie.
The Civil War history of the regiment is remembers in the Irish-American Ballad "The Figthing 69th"
The New York State Military Museum is located at 61 Lake Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866