It was a thrill I will not forget for a long time. It is not the same to purchase a ton of books on the Civil War, get comic books, watch documentaries on the History Channel. The one thing that is absolute perfection is Gettysburg, where it all happened. This time, my family and I witnessed a Civil War re-enactment in Girard, PA. I filmed a lot, and took a few pictures. The purpose: To grasp the true meaning of sacrifice, war and lives lost where we could see it, right in our faces.
Even on a fake way, out of sheer patriotism and respect for the classic uniforms – Confederates Vs. Union – the bravery of these men that took a bullet for what they believed in, and the countless women
who had to drop their usual customs to saw the fingers, arms and legs off of these men is mind boggling and out of this world. When I took a candlelight tour
a few months ago, I could not believe the amount of limbs that were cut off -nor the heroic attempt to match each part with each soldier so it could be buried together. Yes, read that again. That happened in Gettysburg
It was very loud. The cannon that was fired to my right by the Confederates (the general public watched it from that end) hammered all throughout my body, right to my heart. We learned the signal by the second time, since it was a bit hard and I was watching everything: The re-enactment, the publics’ reactions, and of course hunt down my family visually; the roar of the cannon and the muskets fired. I stuck with my son as much as I could, since he’s the Civil War fanatic.
It was a pleasure and an honor to see these regular folks, who dress up, make their tents, the ladies dress up from head to toe, long sleeves, bonnets in 80 degrees being as nice and casual as can be.
The plan for the weekend for these citizens of Girard, PA, is to camp overnight in these tents, brought out all their blankets, mugs, campfires and the basics. Then another re-enactment the next day. Of course, for We The People, there’s tours of homes, candlelight tours, and plenty of knick knacks to purchase, most of it handmade, or that re-created that important but tragic place in history.
We had also the honor of meeting a soldier who came back from Iraq, which was a great coincidence that we shared the same dog breed. So we chatted very informally, and I thanked God and the lucky stars for bringing back this young man intact, happy and with his family. He left before the re-enactment began, which I don’t blame him at all-it was gonna be too much for the dog, and I bet for him-all that noise and explosion around him must have been very familiar and haunting indeed.
I thanked him, of course, and we enjoyed quite an afternoon with the paradigm and contradiction of observing a “war” in front of us, while being surrounded by parents, kids, Nikons and Blackberrys. Of course the video was taken by me, very raw, but puts in perspective the message that I attempt to bring to you this Saturday: Learn your history and appreciate it; without it, regardless of where you came from, you’ll lose it. Especially when freedom from slavery was at stake.
Thanks for reading!