See authentic re-enactments of battle scenes from the Civil War, WWII and Vietnam
By Larry Atseff
For the past 15 years, the Lockport Park District has been host for two days of authentic battle reenactments from the Civil War, World War II, and Vietnam. On this weekend, as many as 25,000 will attend, including veterans. This year is particularly noteworthy because this weekend falls on Saturday, September 11, as well as September 12. Participants wear battle uniforms that are exact replicas of what was worn during these conflicts for US troops as well as the enemy. Participants speak the language of the combatants. You will see equipment such as tanks, jeeps, artillery, even horses, in action. Guns and authentic replicas of blank ammunition, and pyrotechnically created explosives are used. You will see fixed wing aircraft attacking and helicopters attacking and performing rescues. Each battle scene has been documented based on how soldiers remember the actual battle scenes as they occurred. Participants rehearse for weeks so they re-enact the scenes faithfully.
In addition to the battle scenes, there are recreations of what the USO did for the troops, including re-enactments of the music of the times and the talent that performed for the troops, especially during World War II. First and foremost, these weekends are organized and repeated annually to honor those who fought in these wars and other military conflicts. All veterans can attend at no charge and they can enjoy themselves at a Veterans Hospitality Tent. For all others, there are modest admission fees. Naturally, over the years, these weekends have served additional purposes. For some veterans, these weekends have become reunions with their war buddies. For other veterans, the weekends have had positive therapeutic effects, often bringing closure. And, for those veterans who may be suffering from post-traumatic syndrome from being in battle, there is a Mental Health Forum, that is on hand to assist. In fact, the forum is also open to all first responders who, like soldiers, can be affected by the stress they face in their jobs. These weekends have also inspired people attending to choose the military as a career. Our military has performed well in battles which were fought for our freedom and way of life. These weekends are valuable reminders of the sacrifices that have been made on behalf of all of us who live in this country. For tickets and information, go to www.lockportpark.org/MHW, or call 815 838 1183
*Photo provided by Lockport Township Park District