Monday, May 08, 2006

When is a time period too recent to reenact?

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A couple years ago, I was aquainted with a guy who, with me, was in a group that played miniatures-based wargames. His path and mine crossed a time or two before in the WW2 reenacting world. But eventually he and I both dropped out and went our separate ways. That is until we met playing wargames. As most reenactors tend to do, we swapped tales of the hobby and reconnected.

Eventually, the topic of conversation drifted toward "are you reenacting now?" I said no, and at the time I was out of the hobby, but thinking I might eventually return. But the guy said he was doing something that I have mixed feelings about - Vietnam reenacting.

Photo on left is from the Washington Post article Vietnam Buffs Bring Jungle to Va.

In the scheme of things, I suppose any time period is up for grabs as far as reenacting is concerned. But I admit that my mind clicked into "that's too recent!" mode when the guy mention Vietnam.

Even as time has passed, I find that I'm still foggy about what is too recent to reenact. WW2 is a big reenactor era, but I thought at one time it was too new for me. But when I got into doing it, I really had no trouble with the WW2 era. As a matter of fact, one of the most validating moments I had in reenacting was at Camp Butner, when the Old Hickory Association did a display for the vets of the US 35th Division. It was worth every minute to see the look on the vet's faces and to hear the stories that they told.

But then again, we won WW2 and most of the previous wars that tend to draw large crowds of reenactors. I wonder how would a Vietnam vet feel to see the Vietnam era recreated? Would it be wonderment or bitterness? North Carolina has a couple of 'Military Through The Ages'-type events. That would be an interesting question to ask and blog about.


Anonymous said...

Hi there.

You wrote: "But then again, we won WW2 and most of the previous wars that tend to draw large crowds of reenactors."

But consider that Civil War reenactment seems to draw a lot of Confederate reanactors. Not exactly the winning side there either.

- Will K

mntineer said...

Thanks for your post Will!

To add a little clarity to my entry..

I feel that as military reenactors, we are more attracted to recreating the war eras that the US won, no matter the side. Many reenactors do German impressions, sometimes providing more men than the allies.

You do make a very good point about CW reenacting. More reenactors seem to gravitate toward doing Confederate