Sgt. Rock: No offense taken. I just thought you might get more responses on a more specific thread.
What you have described is a two edged sword.
A lot of re-enactors spend a great deal of time researching their impressions and the time period they are covering. The problem is that will always be second hand information. There is a lot of things that are missing from the history books... such as... if you are going to wear a P-38 can opener on your dog tag chain, you might want to secure it to the tags with a rubber band. Once in awhile the things would open and stab you in the chest! Small detail but part of the daily life.
One of my favorite stories was from a Vietnam vet who was called up for service in the early part of Desert Storm. His hut (or in earlier terms, hooch) had an air conditioner but no refrigerator. He amazed the younger veterans by taking a box, lining it with foil, diverting one of the ducts from his a/c unit into a hole in the box, and then filling it with soda! Boring detail, perhaps. But important for the 6 months he spent over there before his reserve unit rotated back.
So yes, a vet can bore someone to death with "there I was" stories, bit one has to be careful not to miss some of the nuggets within the stories they are telling.
The flip side is a re-enactor or collector who believes they have so thoroughly researched a period that they think they've got it all nailed down. Military service is a unique experience... there are some things you will not understand or appreciate unless you have been there... or listen to the stories of someone who has.