Jump to content

New York Times: The Decline of the Civil War Reenactor


Recommended Posts

From the New York Times Style section: a discussion about how the average age of the Civil War actor is creeping upwards, while attendance by both reenactors and the public appears to be declining. Despite that, the Gettysburg reenactment still goes forward every year with a cast of thousands.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/28/style/civil-war-reenactments.html

 

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read it and while their facts are correct, there is a decline in interest and in numbers of participants, I don't feel great about their conclusions

 

Everything has a "high water mark" against which all previous and subsequent are measured

 

Revolutionary war reenacting was wildly popular during the bicentennial and not so much now

 

WWI reenacting has never been this popular, but I question if this will outlast the 100th anniversary

 

but the NYT article strikes me as just another swipe at an institution thought to be for "old white men" by a newspaper with a disdain for anyone with a patriotic bent

 

Tom Bowrs

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...

Very interesting article.

It kind of mirrors what happened in this country, and elsewhere in Europe, were ACW re-enacting was hugh two decades ago.

We had back then a small and dedicated group willing to go whole the way.in our presentations.

Myself I travelled many times to the US, and participated in the 135th at Gettysburg.

Today most of us have quit or changed period, mostly into the 1914-1918 period.

Very sad, but I hang onto all of my gear and continue the interest no matter what.

 

Guy

I welcome anything on US Army WW2 Railway Operating Bn, especially the 712th.

Researching visits of USS Niagara and USS Sacramento summer of 1864 in Antwerp.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Much has happened that hinders lots of re enacting. 911 for one. Used to have really nice WW II events on various Army and Marine bases, no more. F.I.G. is gone due to other circumstances. Sad that new guys wont have the opportunity we had in years past. Stay in barracks( some WWII), eat in mess halls, unbelievable flea markets, ride in military vehicles to the field, and use of O clubs for entertainment and nice dinners. Who knows what or how things could change to benefit the Military and re enactors?

"The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him" G.K. Chesterton

"A people that values it's privileges above its principles will soon lose both" D.D. Eisenhower


donation2009.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif

donation2017.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

By F.I.G. I assume you are referring to Fort Indiantown Gap... a Guard and Reserve training area in Central Pennsylvania.

 

I had the pleasure of staying in their WWII era wooden barracks when on an ROTC training weekend about 1974. I later learned they could be a fire trap. Still a piece of history though, and for years opened up for the semi-public Battle of the Bulge reenactment. The event was complete with tanks, period vehicles, and in some years historically accurate lousy weather. It was a huge event I've only seen in photos.

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to do WWII reenacting back in the late seventies thru the mid eighties. I remember some great events on military bases. Fort Meade Maryland, Fort Storey Virginia, Fort Campbell Kentucky, Camp Buckner NC and some base in Missouri that I can't remember the name of at the moment, plus many more. I am sorry to hear that these events don't happen anymore...

Mike B. in 'Bama

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, F.I.G. , short for Indian Town Gap. There was Ft. Dix too, snow and cold, so cold one year the Army almost stopped everything. Nothing was thought at the time, we all wore original gear until the repro winter combat jackets were available. Old barracks at F.I.G. used to be heated by coal ,had to have fire watches, that was years ago. Guess in mid 80s heat was changed, got so hot upstairs windows needed to be opened some or whole barracks would be Hot. First 2 pics are of Dix events in mid 80s, last is F.I.G. early 90s. Any interest, have more pics, have to dig out albums.post-6975-0-51489900-1543812181_thumb.jpegpost-6975-0-34920700-1543812198_thumb.jpeg

"The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him" G.K. Chesterton

"A people that values it's privileges above its principles will soon lose both" D.D. Eisenhower


donation2009.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif

donation2017.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, F.I.G. , short for Indian Town Gap. There was Ft. Dix too, snow and cold, so cold one year the Army almost stopped everything. Nothing was thought at the time, we all wore original gear until the repro winter combat jackets were available. Old barracks at F.I.G. used to be heated by coal ,had to have fire watches, that was years ago. Guess in mid 80s heat was changed, got so hot upstairs windows needed to be opened some or whole barracks would be Hot. First 2 pics are of Dix events in mid 80s, last is F.I.G. early 90s. Any interest, have more pics, have to dig out albums.post-6975-0-51489900-1543812181_thumb.jpegpost-6975-0-34920700-1543812198_thumb.jpeg

"The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him" G.K. Chesterton

"A people that values it's privileges above its principles will soon lose both" D.D. Eisenhower


donation2009.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif

donation2017.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

F.I.G.post-6975-0-75641900-1543812297_thumb.jpeg Usually snow on the ground. Anyone that was at F.I.G. remembers Chicken Lickin just off base, fantastic diner.

"The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him" G.K. Chesterton

"A people that values it's privileges above its principles will soon lose both" D.D. Eisenhower


donation2009.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif

donation2017.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have seen similar pictures of our ACW unit captain who was also present at these events back then. I believe his unit was the 29th ID, now very popular amongst re-enactors to portray and the collectors community. I hope its not felt as highjacking this thread, but myself and a couple of other people used to re-enact WW2 in original uniforms and gear late '70's and all through the 80's.

It ended for me early 90's, time when my avatar picture was taking. Now I'm 40 years overdue to portray a 20 year old GI :DB)

I welcome anything on US Army WW2 Railway Operating Bn, especially the 712th.

Researching visits of USS Niagara and USS Sacramento summer of 1864 in Antwerp.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorcerer, you are correct. During the late 70s- early 90sthe 29th as a whole was the largest US unit, the Federation was their name, they promoted many events. Our unit protrayed Charles B McDonalds unit, actually met his runner named in Company Commander. Talk about a moment when the hair stands up on ones neck! Met him and a couple other Vets at the assembley point at F.I.G. pre battle. We adopted him, took him to the dinner that evening at the club. I knew the girls that did the Andrews Sisters show, got them to call him up to the stage for special attention, he ate it up.post-6975-0-78510800-1543837780.jpeg

Our group promoted events at Ft Story Va. Beach and Ft Pickett. Found Hearts Desire for entertainment at our events. Guys in the Fed asked me who we used, gave them the contact info, girls and husbands did Battle of the Bulge at F.I.G., great time. A bummer that guys today cant enjoy similar events. Yea, Im way past protraying a WWII GI.post-6975-0-78510800-1543837780.jpeg

"The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him" G.K. Chesterton

"A people that values it's privileges above its principles will soon lose both" D.D. Eisenhower


donation2009.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif

donation2017.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

I read it and while their facts are correct, there is a decline in interest and in numbers of participants, I don't feel great about their conclusions

 

Everything has a "high water mark" against which all previous and subsequent are measured

 

Revolutionary war reenacting was wildly popular during the bicentennial and not so much now

 

WWI reenacting has never been this popular, but I question if this will outlast the 100th anniversary

 

but the NYT article strikes me as just another swipe at an institution thought to be for "old white men" by a newspaper with a disdain for anyone with a patriotic bent

 

Tom Bowrs

 

Well said, especially the final sentence! Sounds to me like the Times writer is indulging in some wishful thinking.

Support our troops...abandoning the War on Terror is not an affordable luxury.

I'm so old, I still call W.W.II U.S. militaria "war surplus".

 

God's blessings in the Name of our Lord Jesus- Jim Robertson

Link to post
Share on other sites

USARV72 -

 

Sounds like you were there in the "good ole days" - My first FIG was 1982. Our group attended every year until 2004. I'll never forget the smell of the coal burning heaters. The vendor area in those days were simply areas in each barracks but even when they changed over to their own bldgs. it was 2nd to none - used to save all year to spend $$$ there. I recall going into the field on several occasions with WWII veterans who had actually been at the Bulge! Later, veterans wouldn't participate but would come for the experience and talk - I recall one year they had a German veteran there - I think he was a veteran of the 2nd Panzer Div, tank driver? Another year I saw a veteran just wandering around alone - I introduced myself and he says "Nice to meet you, my name is Dave Pergrin." Many, many other experiences like that with vets. Amazing experience. You guys have mentioned it, but many, many vehicles - I recall lots of halftracks and Tank destroyers - awesome, realistic terrain, esp. if you were used to reenacting in the midwest, the Saturday night banquet in the banquet hall and O club - I'll try and post some pix later.

 

Also, we went to Ft. Dix several times as well - drove from Chicago in a near blizzard - they closed the Jersey Turnpike! Anyone recall Maj. Smith?

 

Very best,

 

Bill K.

WTB USMC NAMED GROUPINGS, WWI, WWII (ESPECIALLY 4TH MARINE DIVISION ITEMS) AND UNIS MARKED ITEMS, NAMED INFANTRY DIVISION 4 POCKET CLASS A JACKETS, ESPECIALLY 34th ID AND NAMED GROUPINGS, FIRST SPECIAL SERVICE FORCE ITEMS



donation2015.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gif


Link to post
Share on other sites

USARV72 -

 

What group were you with? We went to Pickett, Eustis, Ft. Meade back in the day and Ft. Story - attended a great Vietnam event there once! Our group is from Chicago but we would travel at least once a year out east to hit an event.

 

Very best,

 

Bill

WTB USMC NAMED GROUPINGS, WWI, WWII (ESPECIALLY 4TH MARINE DIVISION ITEMS) AND UNIS MARKED ITEMS, NAMED INFANTRY DIVISION 4 POCKET CLASS A JACKETS, ESPECIALLY 34th ID AND NAMED GROUPINGS, FIRST SPECIAL SERVICE FORCE ITEMS



donation2015.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gif


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill, our group promoted the events at Story and Pickett. We portrayed 23rd INF, 2nd ID. Yes, they were the good old days. Remember the blizzard going to Dix, have ROFLMAO story about the drivers on jersey turnpike. Yea, good ole Art Smith, remember the big dinner with the “ salesmans speech”???pm me

"The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him" G.K. Chesterton

"A people that values it's privileges above its principles will soon lose both" D.D. Eisenhower


donation2009.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif

donation2017.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.