Saturday, September 5, 2009

The littlest re-enactors

Some toted sabres. A few shouted out orders. The rest were riflemen, running through the brush, looking for the enemy.

Pretty well organized for a knot of kids aged 5-8.

As Saturday’s two re-enactments unfolded around them, these children did what kids do best – play.

They ran about excitedly as the artillery went off and smoke rose into the hazy summer sky.

“I sure wish I could in there,” with the re-enactors one young boy said as he watched the fighting.

But they also were learning.

I could hear parents, re-enactors and scout leaders explain what went on in actual fighting and how tough a lot the average Civil War soldier had.

Organizers of the Atlanta Campaign, which puts on the three-day event at Nash Farm in Henry County, say public schools generally do an inadequate job of portraying the war.

Saturday was a chance, they believed, to remedy that.

Richard and Debbie Lute of Fayetteville sat on a blanket with their three children Saturday (left).

They said such events are a great opportunity to learn together as a family.

“We went to Gettysburg this summer,” said Debbie. “We are on fire.”

Nearby, Faustine Li, a junior at Rockdale High School, took advantage of the weekend to earn some extra credit in one of her classes. She brought her father, Feng.

“I didn’t expect it be this big,” said Feng, who was born in China.

The Battle of Atlanta 145th anniversary event is more than about the combat featuring 1,800 re-enactors.

Visitors learn about music, period food, clothing, blacksmithing and camp and home life.

Both the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Sons of Union Veterans have tables at Nash Farm, recruiting new members and raising money.

“We’re about heritage and not hate,” said Lee Stroud of the Confederate group.

Ted Golab sat at the Union exhibit. With ancestors who fought on both sides, Golab calls himself an “SOB”, or a “Son of Both” organizations.

I asked him the chief purpose of such groups.

“We’re saving our history for our kids,” he replied.

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