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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Re-enactor Albert McFadyen will present  “The Words of FDR” in a Pearl 
Harbor Day commemoration, Saturday in the Niagara History Center. 
Acclaimed local re-enactor and actor Albert McFadyen will return to the History Center as “President Franklin Delano Roosevelt” in a special Pearl Harbor remembrance, Saturday at 1 p.m.

McFadyen’s presentation, “The Words of FDR,” will commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. On that day over 2,500 servicemen and civilians (including women and children) were killed in the destruction of the base and over 1,200 were injured.

In his appearances as FDR, McFadyen uses the late president’s own words to bring past events to life.

The attack launched the United States into World War II with FDR’s “Day of Infamy” speech. As part of the program, McFadyen will recreate the speech that Roosevelt presented before Congress on Dec. 8, 1941, and will also offer excerpts from FDR’s “Four Freedoms” speech. As FDR, he will also speak about the major personalities and events of the years preceding and throughout World War II.

McFadyen uses an antique wheelchair and cane in his portrayal of Roosevelt, who was paralyzed from the waist down due to the effects of polio. Roosevelt’s familiar cigarette holder and his jaunty grin are also used to great effect by McFadyen, who has also mastered Roosevelt’s physical presence and mannerisms.

He was called by filmmaker Ken Burns to provide FDR audio to video used in Burns’ PBS documentary “Our National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” Also, in the ending credits of Burns’ latest documentary, “The Roosevelts,” he is listed in “Special Thanks” for his consultation.

McFadyen has also played FDR at numerous schools and theaters throughout the country. As an actor, he has performed in many productions at local theaters, including the Lancaster Opera House, Palace Theater, Riviera Theater and Katherine Cornell Theater at the University of Buffalo.

Admission is free for this public presentation, but donations are always accepted to assist with providing quality programs throughout the year. Plan to arrive early as seating for this program fills up quickly.

The History Center will also offer holiday-themed activities at its two other Lockport sites on Dec. 6. The Erie Canal Discovery Center, 24 Church St., will present the Lock, Stock and Barrel Holiday Gift Market from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. This extravaganza of locally produced treasures will include handcrafted jewelry and knitted items, chocolates, homemade treats, note cards and postcards, and even story time with “Mrs. Klaus” (Karen Sherwood) from 1-2 p.m. Admission will be free.

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