PUNTA GORDA — Eliza Wade, 7, got to drive a tank Saturday.

It was not even a foot tall. The plastic tanker rolled along a big wooden table, as she directed it with a remote. She was going up against her 4-year-old brother, Josh Wade.

It was a tough battle. Josh kept getting stuck by some blocks. His tank was shot down too many times. Eliza was victorious.

And though it was all fun and games, behind that was lots of sacrifice.

The idea is demonstrating what others endure for our country.

“We have to keep people realizing what men and women have done to keep us free,” said Military Heritage Museum volunteer Don Schall, who helped lead Eliza to victory. “So many kids don’t realize what happened throughout the years.”

The Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda kicked off its Freedom Festival Saturday, which is going on until Monday, which is Veterans Day and a national holiday.

“The Heritage Museum isn’t just about what happened in the past,” said Gary Butler, the museum’s director. “So many kids have parents who are in active duty. This helps kids understand what their parents do.”

Sunday included a celebration of the U.S. Marine Corps birthday, with brunch at 11 a.m.

The Veterans Day ceremony at the museum was Monday, with a brunch at noon. Both days had flight simulators, virtual reality experiences, military-themed documentaries and films, a smokeless range, Google expeditions and activities for kids.

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