Friday, September 21, 2012

Re-enact this

Members of a northwestern Ohio historical society plan to re-enact a 200-year-old battle from a "forgotten" war this weekend, according to a recent story in the Toledo Blade. The re-enacters will strive to make it all as historically accurate as possible for the benefit of spectators. Forty-eight lives were lost in that battle two centuries ago, according to the news story, including 40 Native Americans, who found themelves on the wrong side of history when they sided with the British.

Intellectually, I am a big fan of history. I encourage everybody who knows how to read to turn off the History Channel, aka the Hitler Channel, and open a book by Herodotus, Julius Caesar, Ulysses Grant, Churchill, Bill Shirer, Toynbee. You can skip von Clausewitz.

Emotionally, I agree with the guy who, talking about Civil War re-enacters, said he loved them but only wished they would use live ammunition.

If we have forgotten the War of 1812, so be it. It is well documented. It is taught in our schools. There are monuments and memorials across the region. To paraphrase Shakespeare, do we need to thrust it back into our consciousness?

Adding insult to lack of injury -- alas, no live ammo is to be used this weekend -- is the fact that the Ohio Humanities Council wrote the re-enacters a check for $1,500 to help foot the bill for their costume party. What happened to the war on government waste? Bow your heads in a moment of silence to the fallen of the War of 1812 if you must, but if you want to re-enact something important, re-enact a battle in the war against unnecessary government spending.

Pictured above is the statue of Toledo Civil War hero General James Blair Steedman. It stands in a city park named after actor Jamie Farr, a more recent Toledoan, who played Klinger, the cross-dressing Korean War conscript on the award-winning TV series MASH.

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