Celebrate July the 4th – at Civil War Reenactment

I am re-posting this blog that I published on July 4, 2014. This was my first experience shooting at Civil War re-enactment. I enjoyed so much last year that I am going back again today…

Firework is fun, but not my most favorite thing to do on July the 4th. Chinese are firework masters and I have seen enough dramatic firework displays in my life. The visit to Civil War Reenactment at Willamette Mission Park is a real treat for me this year.  I was amazed by the authenticity of fine details that I saw in the event. Even though I don’t know American history as much as the natives do, I am opted to talk about it.

I am the one who ‘Does not Know much about American History’ (written by Kenneth C. Davis) only had my minimum education in school about World history in which American history is only part of it.  After having lived here for decades, I found myself still quite ignorant of some major historical events. Davis’ book is written in non-doctrinal style, easy and fun to read.  The section of American Voice from real people is particularly realistic and piercing to be heard and understood.

My husband is a history guru and he is usually able to answer my questions on the top of his head. I am gaining more interest in history as I began to dig in.

This short journey of entering into the world during Civil War (1861-1865) is an extraordinary experience for me.  Slavery appears to be the key to turn on the war between Confederated South and Union North.  President Lincoln has made his mark in history by maintaining the unity of the nation and unleash the slavery.  Either I entered a movie set or a time travel back to 18th century, I have discovered much that I have not thought about prior to this experience.

Whatever I wrote here here is just my limited personal experience and point of view. I am very sure that I am only aware of part of the truth.  My  eyes are focused on reality, lifestyle and naturally, fashion as you can imagine.
By looking at above images, have you smelt the war? Flag of Union North was raised high. Soldiers were fighting for a good cause. Canons were firing and gunpowder were exploding and blowing. Officials were equipped and furnished with gun and sword marching on. Army music band are making their strides, They are morale boosters. I always think music is for relaxation for our regular life. I have never thought that music also plays an important role in a war, have you?

There are Confederated South who is composed of many southern states who were adamant for slavery. Southern states are agricultural and they need manpower to work in the field. North states have more natural resources and therefore more wealthy. They want to free slaves for humanity reasons.Civil war means people fight against own people due to different beliefs and goals. Americans are very blessed. A civil war brought in unity and freedom and prosperity comes along.
Offshores there are perpetual civil wars occurred between north and south Koreans. Old war between north and south Vietnamese has never freed people up to this date and if you ever knew, the permanent wound in the heart of those who struggled for freedom and came here by boat. Chinese and Taiwanese appear to be in good terms at the moment, but potential threat of war between two regimes is still at odds.
American spirit is certainly at work. The presentation at the ‘battlefield’ looks real. The mimicking of civilian’s life is also as vivid as it can be. Americans are aggressive to participate in organized events and when they do, they are perfectionists of everything, every fact and details. I stood by this ‘wounded soldier’ without realizing his existence at first. When I almost stepped on him, I screamed because I thought I aggravated his wound.
Then, I visited the tented-out families.  Army soldiers were moving around and tented out from one place to the other during the war, not the families. For this event, families are there in the tents to show their daily lifestyle.
Children were all dressed like they were in 18thy century and during the war. Boys all had their wooden guns and they were playing with them, at home drill? I just love their style of apparels and I bet the crafty mothers made them all.  Grandmothers and mothers were put to work. Life was hard during the war when men were not around. Women have to be Jack-at-all-Trades.  Things were mostly home-made and handmade. Household chores had to be done without the help of modern devices.

Everything is organic, but there was hard labor and solid work. I cannot say how original (design wise) this wooden rack is, but I can say the porcelain set of rice bowl, soup bowl and plate are pretty authentic.

Whoever created this design is a genius. Blue hand painting on white porcelain was originated from Ming Dynasty in China. To merge rice patterns into the units and make them translucent clear is extremely smart. You can usually find maybe 3-5 different blue graphics on the plate and all of them have white rice pattern immersed. However, we can only see through the rice if porcelain quality is supreme. Chinese art and porcelain can be seen in old and historical palaces, castles and mansions. I think people proceed it as antiques and timeless pieces.This image reminds me of my grandson Braxtyn. Not sure since when wooden toys came back to style. Young parents are very cautious about the bpa content in plastic toys and organic wooden toys are becoming popular. Braxtyn has a exceptionally talented dad who makes a great varieties of toys for his son.  I bet he would love to have this mini wagon.
Here comes the fun part for me, the Victorian apparels and styles. The first thing I noticed is, the ladies who were dressed up like in 18th century actually look like the people in that era themselves. They look conservative, elegant and very civilized. They look as genuine as the characters in those beautiful classic novels that tear you up or pound your heart. I guess people belong to this reenactment organization are those who appreciate and enjoy the culture value in that era and they work hard to be authentic.

This boy was from ‘Union’ North. He came to get the water with a tin bucket which is exactly the same one I used when I was only 6 years old and cut my toe bleed. It really brought back my old memories. I asked him, “what is your role in the Civil War?” and he answered, “Fight the Confederated!” I know there were young boys aged from 15-18 drawn to fight in the army during the civil war…

How could I spend a better day like this one learning and refreshing my memories about history?

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