Updated: Jun 3
I once met this older gent who was passionate about reenactments. Unfamiliar with what that is? Well, here's the quick definition: Historical reenactment is a well known activity in which amateur hobbyists and history enthusiasts dress a part and follow a plan to recreate aspects of a historical event or time period. In the case of my acquaintance he went to the extent of traveling around the country to participate in Civil War era battle scenes, playing whatever part was available. Sometimes the events involved setting up a realistic camp in a small-town park for visitors to experience the food, clothing, and people of the time. Other events would last several days and include camping treks in the Smoky Mountains. With a flourish he shared how he owned numerous uniforms and equipment, but (and at this he paused for dramatic effect) his favorite piece by far was his compass. A compass, he told me, pulling a time-worn antique piece out of his pocket, helps move the soldiers along those mountain paths even when our instincts aren't entirely certain of the endpoint destination. As he tucked his treasure back into his pocket it occurred to me that those reenactments went far beyond a costumed theatrical performance; they really were an opportunity to remember our fallen heroes. All those brave souls who didn't always have a clear view of the destination, but still stubbornly fought to point us in the direction of a better day.