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Francis Gary Powers Jr. dishes on his dad, the famed U-2 pilot, June 9 at Cold War Museum he founded at Vint Hill

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Francis Gary Powers

Spy Pilot” is the engaging name of a new book.

Bridge of Spies” was a recent movie at Winchester’s Alamo Theater.

Francis Gary Powers is the literal hero of both.

Francis Gary Powers, Jr. of Richmond is the son and author.

Carol and Malcolm Barr, Jr. of Front Royal and Gloucester. Va., are cousins of the two Powers. Both Barr Jr. and Francis Gary Powers coincidentally had similar, interrupted, military careers. Both served in the U.S. Air Force. Both were intelligence specialists. Barr served in Iraq; Powers flew U-2s.

On June 9, Powers Jr., will meet his kinfolk, one of them for the first time, at the Cold War Museum, Vint Hill, near Gainesville, where he will discuss his book, his hero dad, and the museum he founded.

And we all know, don’t we, that Francis Gary Powers piloted a U-2 spy plane over the Soviet Union in 1960, was shot down, imprisoned, released in a spy swap in 1962, thus ending one of the biggest international incidents of any war in recent history.

Except that it didn’t end there. A cloud of suspicion lingered over Powers until his untimely death in a helicopter crash in California in 1977. “Powers should have done this (taken a poison pill), Powers should have done that (blown up the U-2),” some were saying.

It has taken Gary Powers, the son, more than 40 years to complete, along with co-author Keith Dunnavant, the definitive account of the famous Cold War incident proving that his father acted honorably through a trying ordeal while serving his country. In other words, he was doing, for the CIA, as he was told.

The book, “Spy Pilot,” is billed as a biography. To me, it reads like a novel. It is riveting throughout, and is impeccably researched. Gary Powers, exhibiting extraordinary patience in dealing with bureaucrats, mainly in the United States, and including a director of our Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), but also in the Soviet Union, to set the record straight.

His dad, it can truthfully be said, is and was a hero from the get-go, and his son now has thousands of documents to prove it.

Francis Gary Powers and Francis Gary Powers Jr.

In an unlikely Foreword, unlikely to me, anyway, Sergei Khrushchev, son of the president of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, who effectively jailed Francis Gary Powers for espionage, said of Gary the Younger: “I have watched Francis Gary Powers Jr. work tirelessly to honor and preserve the memory of his father, an ordinary American who was caught up in extraordinary circumstances. I, too, have made great efforts to honor and preserve the legacy of my father…”

Khrushchev was credited with helping avert nuclear disaster while working with American presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, moving the two super powers toward “peaceful coexistence.”

Sergei and Gary became friends.

While at the CIA in Langley in 2009, Carol paused at the Francis Gary Powers exhibit in the main building’s small museum, saluting its heroes of the past. “My cousin,” she murmured to our retiring host. “I never knew him growing up but knew who he was later. I was 20 and worked in Washington when he crashed and also when he came home.” The cousins lived a few miles from each other in Southwest Virginia, she in Coeburn, he in Pound.

Hollywood actor Robert Conrad, a Powers family friend, said of the U-2 pilot: “Francis Gary Powers was a patriot who got a raw deal, and his son has devoted his life to revealing the truth.”

Gary will discuss his book in detail on Sunday afternoon, June 9 from 2-4 p.m. If you don’t make the relatively short trip to Vint Hill, you may buy “Spy Pilot” by going to Prometheusbooks.com

For tickets to the Cold War Museum, visit: Spy Pilot: The Truth About U-2 Pilot Francis Gary Powers

The Museum is located at Vint Hill, a former top secret intelligence base. The address is 7172 Lineweaver Rd., Vint Hill, 20187, next to Vint Hill Craft Winery and across the parking lot from Old Bust Head Brewery.

Biography on Francis Gary Powers, Jr.

Born June 5, 1965, in Burbank, California, he is the son of Francis Gary and Claudia “Sue” Powers. Gary holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration / Certification in Non-profit Management from George Mason University (GMU), Fairfax, Virginia. He graduated in 2019 with his Master’s Degree in U.S. History from Adams State University, Alamosa, CO.

Gary is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of The Cold War Museum, a 501(c) (3) charity located at Vint Hill, VA 45 minutes west of Washington, DC. He founded the museum in 1996 to honor Cold War veterans, preserve Cold War history, and educate future generations about this time period. As Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Cold War Theme Study he works with the National Park Service and leading Cold War experts to identify historic Cold War sites for commemorating, interpreting, and preservation. Recently, he consulted for a Steven Spielberg Cold War thriller, Bridge of Spies, about James Donovan who brokered the 1962 spy exchange between KGB spy Rudolph Abel and CIA U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, Sr.

Gary is the author of Letters from a Soviet Prison (2017) and Spy Pilot (2019) which both help to dispel the misinformation surrounding the U-2 Incident. He is a Board Member of the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum near Omaha, NE and an Honorary Board Member of the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. Because of his efforts to honor Cold War veterans the Junior Chamber of Commerce selected him as one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Americans” for 2002. Gary lectures internationally and appears regularly on C-SPAN, the History, Discovery, and A&E Channels. He is married and has one son.

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37th Anniversary of National Night Out to be held on October 6th

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On Tuesday, October 6, 2020, citizens throughout Front Royal are invited to join forces with thousands of communities nationwide for the “37th Anniversary of National Night Out” (NNO) crime and drug prevention event. National Night Out, is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) and co-sponsored locally by the Front Royal Police Department and the Front Royal Police Foundation.

“We look forward to hosting this great event every year, but due to COVID-19 restrictions and safety concerns, we have had to cancel the “block party” style event that we usually hold on the Town Commons,” said Front Royal Chief of Police Kahle Magalis. “This year we are going to take National Night Out mobile and caravan to different locations throughout the town and meet up with our citizens in smaller groups in areas where we can practice social distancing.”

We will host neighborhood visits throughout the Town with police officers, foundation members, and our other law enforcement partners. The evening will begin at the Front Royal Police Department with opening remarks starting at 5:00pm and the start of the parade at 5:20pm. The route will continue through town and will utilize 5 stopping points along the route and conclude at the Town Gazebo at 8:00pm.

National Night Out showcases the vital importance of police-community partnerships and citizen involvement in our fight to build a safer nation. “Events like National Night Out are necessary to help strengthen the partnerships between the community and law enforcement,” said Brendan Murphy, Front Royal Police Foundation Vice Chair. This is the police department’s fourteenth year hosting NNO and without this partnership, law enforcement’s battle against crime would be limited.

Please watch for more information about times and locations on our numerous social media outlets.

Lastly, stop by the Front Royal Police Department and pick up blue lightbulbs and thin blue line flags, while supplies last, to help show your support during the parade!

Parade Route Stops

5:00 – 5:20  Front Royal Police Department
5:30 – 5:50 Warren County Skate Park
6:00 – 6:20 Ressie Jeffries Elementary School
6:30 – 6:50 Warren County High School
7:15 – 7:35 Marlow Heights Baptist Church
7:45 – 8:15 Town Gazebo

Route:

FRPD, R on Virginia Ave, L on 1st, R on Union, R on W. Main, SKATE PARK, R on Kerfoot to W. Criser to E. Criser, L into RESSIE JEFFRIES, R on Beeden, L on Hill, R on South St., L on Westminster to WCHS, L on Westminster, R on Walker, L on John Marshall, L on Leach Run, L on Oden, L on Ewell, R on Imboden, R on Happy Ridge, L on Goodview, L on Meadow Court, R on Lewis, L on Happy Creek, L on Manassas Ave to MARLOW HEIGHTS BAPTIST CHURCH, L on Happy Creek to Laura Virginia Hale into TOWN GAZEBO.

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Shred your sensitive documents at Community Shred Day on October 17th

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Have you been de-cluttering during the pandemic? Come shred your sensitive documents at our Community Shred Day on October 17th! There is no limit to the amount you can shred. Come out and take advantage of this service, and watch this video to learn more:

  • WHEN: Saturday, October 17, 2020 · 10 AM – 1 PM
  • WHERE: Front Royal Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department
  • WHO: Open to the Public · Hosted by Rotary Club of Warren County
  • EVENT LINK: Facebook
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This week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of September 25th

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Are you looking for the full movie-going experience without having to wait in the long lines that often accompany that experience? Then look no further because Royal Cinemas movie theatre is the answer. Get the whole gang together and enjoy a movie! We are continuing to practice “6 Foot Social Distancing” with 50% capacity reserved seating in all auditoriums.

Here is a list of this week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of Friday, September 25:

• Friday: 6:45
• Sat & Sun: 4:00 & 7:10
• Mon – Thurs: 6:45
Rated PG13  |  Run Time: 2 hour 30 min

• Friday: 7:00
• Sat & Sun: 4:10 & 7:00
• Mon – Thurs: 7:00
Rated PG13  |  Run Time: 1 hour 53 min

• Friday: 7:15
• Sat & Sun: 4:25 & 7:20
• Mon – Thurs: 7:15
Rated PG13  |  Run Time: 1 hour 35 min


Ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adult: $9
  • Child (under 12): $6
  • Military: $7
  • Student (college): $7
  • Senior: $7
  • Matinees, All Seating: $6

Other movies coming soon to Royal Cinemas:

  • “Infidel”
  • “Black Widow”
  • “007: No Time to Die”
  • “Soul”
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Constitution Day at Commonwealth Senior Living Facility

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On September 17, 2020, the Colonel James Wood II Chapter of the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution gave a reading presentation to celebrate the birthday of the Constitution of the United States at Commonwealth Senior Living Facility in Front Royal.  Dale Corey, Brett Osborn, Chip Daniel and Art LaFlam provided an oversight of the birth of the Constitution and an overview of what the original document means.

Dale Corey, Brett Osborn, Chip Daniel and Art LaFlam

The Articles of Confederation was the governing document for the federal government into the 1780s.  It was woefully inadequate.  It gave little power to the central government and lacked enforcement powers.  Decisions required unanimous approval of all 13 State legislatures.  Another problem was money.  They could print money, but it was worthless.  They borrow but couldn’t pay it back.  They had little ability to defend its sovereignty.  Many of the 625 man Army had not been paid, some were deserting and others were threatening mutiny.  There was  no international power to protect American interests from other nations.  Overall, it was a failed document.

In 1787, a convention was called at Philadelphia to propose a plan of government.  Original plans included 23 articles.  After considerable discussion and debate, a final draft was approved with seven articles.  By the end of July 1788, 11 States had ratified, and on September 13, 1788, a resolution was passed putting the new Constitution into operation.  The new government was in place effective March 4, 1789.  George Washington was inaugurated 8 weeks later as the first President of the United States.

There were 39 signers of the document, to include three from Virginia.  These were John Blair, James Madison and George Washington.  The Constitution with the Bill of Rights and the additional amendments are the basis of the governments structure and law and order in the United States of America.

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Able Forces Foundation hosting Department of Veteran Services

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Military and Veteran families are welcome to come by if you have issues with VA benefits, or need assistance or guidance on support.  Andre Miller, of the Department of Veteran Services, and Danielle Cullers, our area’s Homeless Advocate, will be at our office from 9 AM to Noon on Friday, September 25, 2020.  Please call for an appointment if possible: 540-631-9600.  Our office is located at 115 Chester Street, Suite B, in Front Royal.

Strict COVID protocols will be followed.

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2020 Hands & Harvest Festival offers a virtual event and in-person weekend to celebrate fall in the mountains

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Monterey, VA – Celebrate the beauty and bounty of fall with the annual Hands & Harvest Festival in Highland County, Virginia!  Held from Thursday, October 8, through Sunday, October 11, this year’s festival offers a unique hybrid of both virtual and in-person offerings.

The festival kicks off on Thursday, October 8, from 6 to 8 pm, with the first ever Virtual Hands & Harvest Festival, hosted by online event platform, BoothCentral.  Anyone in the world with an internet connection and email address has the ability to go online to discover, browse and shop with participating festival organizations and businesses.  The virtual event includes a video stream that highlights many aspects of the festival, including exclusive tours and special moments with the unique people and destinations of this rural, mountain community.  In addition, guests can directly interact with participating vendors at their own pace in their online vendor “booths.”  Tune in any time between 6 and 8 pm on Thursday, October 8, at this Virtual Hands & Harvest Link to learn all about what Highland County has to offer.  Preregistration is not necessary, although guests who register ahead of time will receive an email reminder on the day of the event.

In-person offerings will begin Friday, October 9, through Sunday, October 11, dispersed throughout Highland County.  See the full schedule and details at highlandcounty.org/hands-harvest-festival.  Here are some highlights of the sights, sounds and tastes of the season:

  • Activities for all ages include scaling over 100 steps on Sounding Knob Fire Tower from sunrise to sunset, watching the Valley AeroSpace Team’s amazing rocket launches, and visiting a mini equine sanctuary
  • Outdoor entertainment on Saturday at The Highland Center with their “Maple Tap Room” serving up craft and domestic beer and Big Fish Cider, followed by live music with Lynda Smith and 7th Street, an eight-piece party band that highlights Motown, disco, beach and classic rock
  • The freshly updated Highland County Barn Quilt Trail, including a chance to visit the barn quilt studio where many of these colorful quilt designs on wooden blocks are created
  • Several of Highland County’s Maple Syrup Sugar Camps will be open, with a chance to get your passport stamped after a tour as part of the new Virginia Maple Syrup Trail at participating camps.  If pure maple syrup isn’t enough of a draw, some camps will even offer delicious apple butter or cider, warm winter wear, pumpkins, BBQ, bluegrass music, hiking trails and more!
  • Instead of the Monterey Courthouse, arts and crafts vendors will be set up with one-of-a-kind gifts and treats at locations around the county like Monterey Presbyterian Church and The Church at the Old Oak.

“This hybrid event offers visitors the option to take part in the festival online even if they are unable to make it or if they feel uncomfortable with travel at this time,” says Executive Director of the Highland County Chamber of Commerce, Chris Swecker.  “Whether online or in person, people will get to experience what makes our rural community so special at this time of year.”

The 2020 Hands & Harvest Festival is sponsored by Big Fish Cider Co., the new HighlandCountyVA Blog, and The Highland Center.  The festival is brought to you by The Highland County Chamber of Commerce.

For both your safety and for the safety of others when traveling, please adhere to current CDC and Virginia Department of Health guidelines regarding the coronavirus.  To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, please observe social distancing of at least six feet from other visitors, wear a face covering when indoors or when you are in close proximity to others outdoors, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or apply hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.  Please stay home if you are sick, if you have signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been in close contact with someone who has had COVID-19.  Prevention tips can be found at vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/prevention-tips/.


The Highland County Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)(6) membership nonprofit organization with a mission to lift up local businesses and entrepreneurs, promote Highland County, and champion economic prosperity and quality of life.  For more information, please visit www.highlandcounty.org.

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