Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Why the Obsession...?
...with trying to re-live history? The photos are from a small event I did with a few friends in Gettysburg this past weekend. It was a good event. We wanted to do something besides Civil War, so we did a small WWII presentation.
I brought along a large part of my collection, including some of my recently acquired British gear. I was going to wear the British uniform, but with temperatures nearing 100 degrees, and a heat index well over 100, I decided that a wool uniform that is even heavier than a CW uniform might not have been the best of ideas, so I went relatively comfortable in U.S. HBT's.
But, the question still resounds. Why the obsession? You see what I have, and add it to what the other guys brought along (we had a WWII .30 cal. machine gun, several M-1's, a BAR, and a guy with over 15 various WWII pistols, let alone all the gear). There are some museums that have less gear than what we had lying next to the sidewalk.
Yet, I still have a list several pages long of things I'd still like to buy. I have 4 US helmets, but I'd like another. I have an M-1, but I'd like another. I'd like more K-rations, and some C rations, etc. You get the point!
No matter how much I get, though, there will always be more I want, and everyone I know who does this feels the same way. Why?
I have 3 Civil War muskets, and 4 sets of accoutrements. I've got 4 CW uniforms, etc. There again, I'm not bragging, but you get it.
I'll never be a Civil War soldier, and I don't claim I will. I'll never know what it was like to be a WWII soldier. I've seen modern things and done things they've never done. Soldiers from all eras, though have experienced hardships, fear and loss on an unimagineable scale, and no matter who much gear we have, we won't be able to relate. So, what arewe trying to accomplish?
Are we satisfying our own curiosity? Arewe trying to see or feel or smell what they did? The uniforms are uncomfortable to a degree one can't imagine without actually wearing them. The weapons in operation are fantastic, but you might not understand unless you saw them in real-time.
It goes on and on. No one knows how many historic reenactors there are in the country, or the world. It is estimated that there are over 100,000 CW reenactors in the US alone, and that the number of WWII reenactors is approaching 25,000. WWII is the fastest growing segment of the reenacting world, so that may change very soon. Time will tell!
If you are a reenactor or a living historian, please comment on what you have, why you do it, and what you think of the hobby as a whole. I'll post them all, and we all look nforward to reading them.