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Re-enactors share knowledge of World War II


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#1 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 04:34 PM

Re-enactors share knowledge of World War II


By LINDA CHARLTON
Special to the Star-Banner


Published: Monday, August 4, 2008 at 6:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 4, 2008 at 5:59 a.m.
BUSHNELL - While high gas prices may have lowered attendance at Saturday's World War II Commemorative Day at the Battlefield, those who attended learned about the war with the help of walkie-talkies, jeeps and machine guns.


http://images.ocala....xW=250&border=0 LINDA CHARLTON/SPECIAL TO THE STAR-BANNER
Sebastian De Leon, 7, plays with Aldonza, an 8-month-old English bulldog, Saturday at the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park in Bushnell.



"I remember a lot of this from when I was a kid," said Shirley Roberts of Fruitland Park. "My dad was in the National Guard, and I remember them using this equipment."
"The best part is the guns," said 7-year-old Blaine Roberts.
There was no battle at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park in Bushnell on this day. The uniformed re-enactors were there as living history, sharing their knowledge, equipment and, in some cases, their camps.
"They have some nice people here," said World War II Army veteran Lyle Blevins of Leesburg.
Blevins served in a mechanized unit during World War II - lots of tanks. On Saturday, he filmed the weapons demonstration in rapt attention
Blevins said he had some horse-riding experience in the war, too. It was in Austria. The men had some free time and were in the same place as the Lippizaners rescued by Gen. George S. Patton. So they took them out riding.
"At the time, I didn't realize it was history in the making," Blevins said.
Family ties prompt some World War II re-enactors to portray one class of soldier over another. Others just decide to do something a little different.
Dave Stimpson of Orlando, for example, became an Estonian soldier. Stimpson, his brother Tyler Stimpson and friend, Christopher Stewart, served as members of the Narwa Battalion - Estonian nationalists who viewed the Germans as liberators, freeing them from Soviet rule.
After World War II, many of the Narwa went on to fight against the Soviets.
"They were fighting right up until the '60s," Dave Stimpson said.
Standing under an Israeli flag, David Bloom of Longwood was the lone representative of the World War II Jewish Brigade. Bloom, who is Jewish, said he was drawn to the group partly out of a desire to do something different, and partly out of admiration for the 30,000 fighters, many of whom went on to become founding fathers of the State of Israel.
Mark Stinnett of Gainesville attended as a member of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association, First Florida Chapter. Most members were there with jeeps, anti-tank guns (one labeled "tank getter") and other large pieces of equipment. Stinnett arrived with World War II field communication equipment.
"I'm a ham radio guy," Stinnett said. "When I joined the MVA, someone gave me a pair of World War II telephones and I said, 'I can make those work.' That started the madness."
This was the sixth year the event has been held at the battlefield park.
"It has increased in the past two years," said park ranger George Webb. "But gas prices have held down some participation. Last year I had 23 encampments. This year I have 12, but the mechanized vehicles are just as strong as ever, and the vendors are even stronger."
Last year's event drew about 500 people, he said.

Re-enactors share knowledge of World War II | Ocala.com | Star-Banner | Ocala, FL
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For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.




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