On Saturday I travelled to Shiloh National Military Park to observe an armament display by re-enactors. I didn’t know what to expect but I must say that I was thoroughly enthralled. The exhibitors wore uniforms from every major war that the United States has been involved in since the beginning of this great country. They had set up tables with artifacts from their time period and some even brought jeeps and trucks from WWII and Korea. It was an amazing display. The men explained their different guns and then did a firing exhibition. It was fabulous! And, of course, I took pictures.
These are the re-enactors for all the wars except Viet Nam. Most of them were veterans.
The first soldier I talked to was from the American Revolution. He was a very knowledgeable young man. What amazed me about him was his knowledge of the different types of rifles used during the Revolutionary War.
The next soldier was from the War of 1812. He told me an interesting fact - those hats came in different heights. Short people got taller hats and tall people got shorter hats - all to make everyone look the same size. It was an intimidation factor. These hats were influenced by Napoleon's army.
Moving on to a war I did not recognize: the Mexican-American War which took place from 1846-1848. Most of the generals from the Civil War were young lieutenants in this war, including Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Ulysses Grant and Ambrosius Burnside.
Next came the Civil War soldiers - both North and South. These guys were very informative and they had some pretty neat things they brought with them to show the visitors. The thing that struck me about their uniforms were how unkempt the regular soldiers were.
Ah, the Rough Riders! The Spanish-American war. It took place in 1898.
Yes, he was this cute.
Then came World War I. This doughboy was cute and very sweet. I spent a lot of time at his table
He gets two pictures!
World War II and all the equipment. This guy was very military and very knowledgeable about the war. He was particularly interested in my great uncle's war letters about being Patton's jeep driver during the Battle of the Bulge.
Although people call it the Korean Conflict, my dad will tell you it was definitely a war.
Viet Nam - the first war that I remember. The one war, besides the Civil War, that tore this nation apart.
The Gulf War - I remember how quickly it started and was over - one month. Those guys were ready and knew their mission - stop Iraq.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a close picture of the Afghanistan/Iraq soldier. He is pictured in the first line-up.
So there you have it - the soliders who fought for the United States and for their ideals. I took a moment to look up the casualty lists from the wars:
Revolutionary War - 6,824 KIA (Killed in Action)
The War of 1812 - 2260 KIA
Mexican/American War - 1733 KIA
Civil War - 618,963 KIA
Spanish-American War - 2446 KIA
World War I - 116,000 KIA
World War II - 405,399 KIA
Korean War - 54,246 KIA
Viet Nam War - 58,000 KIA
Gulf War - 148 KIA
Iraq/Afghanistan - 5853 KIA as of December 9, 2010
I stood in the Shiloh Methodist Church, amidst the battlefields and the immense sense of silence that pervaded the place.
Funny how battlegrounds always seem holy. And they are. These men at Shiloh and all the men who died for this nation in other wars have consecrated the ground where they died with their blood. They died for a cause and a belief that made this nation free. I thank them.