Thursday, October 2, 2008

Chica's Big Day Out (or how I took years off my kids' lives. . .)

One of my enduring passions is World War II, mostly because I do believe that the "greatest generation" did nothing less than save the world. The 1940s-era holds endless fascination for me, and I never tire of hearing stories from both the front lines and the home front of the courage, ingenuity and heroism.

So it was with great excitement that the ZamFam5 headed out to the largest WWII re-enactment in North America. It is held every September about an hour away from our house. When we arrived, we were met with all the sights and sounds of a German-occupied French village. Trying to get our bearings, we pulled off to the side of a dirt track that ran through the center of town only to have a volley of gunfire erupt mere feet away! We had inadvertently found ourselves with a front row view of one of the many skirmishes that are held throughout the day. It was deafeningly loud. Bug was so scared he turned completely white, went totally stiff and held his mouth open in a silent scream. The girls kept looking at me wide-eyed for assurance, but shouting at them didn't really convey that everything was okay. El Guapo had a priceless expression on his face that said, "Don't look at me. This is all your mother's doing!"

Before the battle, occupying forces patrolled the streets.

Their friendly and casual demeanor gave no indication of the gunfire that was about to erupt in moments!
The gunfire reports were so powerful, you could feel the concussions on your chest. Awesome!
Some Allied troops had taken up in the General Store and were trying to battle their way outside. We thought the rifles were loud and then they rolled up with this baby! Percussive! In the interest of realism, not all of the battles end with Allied victories and in this instance, the good guys were captured and marched away. Then the occupying forces packed up and rolled on down the street.

There are home front and front lines exhibitions, as well. Here the girls are in the area showing the role of the Red Cross.

Everywhere are period vehicles and folks in costume. So authentic.

This could be on a street corner in 1944. Love the uniforms!

The front lines area is divided into Allied and Axis zones. Visitors hike through the woods to view various encampments. Can you imagine living like this?

There are many impressive military vehicles.

This officer was impressive and realistic with his dapper uniform and dour expression.
Not a real fan of posting pictures of my girls with a N**i, but the horse in the picture is a movie star. He played John Adams' horse in the HBO miniseries. (If I ever run for public office, I might have to remove this one -- can you imagine what someone could write?!)

This is my favorite picture of the day (thanks, El Guapo!) because it so perfectly captures that even though conditions were most difficult, British will, order and patriotism still thrived. Brilliant.

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