One would never expect to run into the above four gentlemen in 2015 unless it were at a military re-enactment such as the annual one at Old Fort MacArthur Days in San Pedro, California.
There are several reasons why I am interested in attending this event:
- I am a history aficionado who delights in learning. As a result of a visit to the West Cork Flying Column of the IRA, I have begun reading Tom Barry’s Guerilla Days in Ireland (1949).
- Many of the units impersonating groups before the days of heavy armaments in war also practice ironwork, weaving, herbal medicine, obscure musical instruments, and other arts that have disappeared in this post-industrial world … with interesting results.
- Many of the groups really get into the role they are supposed to be playing, such as the World War Two Russian troops with their cans of CPAM (Spam) from Lend-Lease and the various Roman legion groups, one with the Emperor Hadrian and the other with the Emperor Vespasian.
What I do not like are the actual battle re-enactments, which are noisy, smelly, and not terribly realistic. But then I would not like to see real bodies littering the hillside. Instead, Martine and I like to circulate among the different groups and talk to the enactors at their encampments.
Martine, for instance, spent some time talking to the ladies from the Salvation Army, circa 1917-1918, as they offered donuts to the doughboys. I spent much of my time with the Clan MacColin (about which more in a future posting), the West Cork Flying Column (from the Irish Rebellion), and various Civil War groups.