Soldiers’ Christmas

Technically, this still counts since it falls before Epiphany, right? (In the Catholic tradition, Epiphany – the feast of the Three Kings on January 6 – is the official end of the twelve days of Christmas.)

Anyway, technicalities aside, I recently attended a Living History event at Fort Mott State Park in New Jersey called Soldiers’ Christmas. Maybe it was Soldier’s Christmas. Soldiers Christmas? Whatever.

It was my first time attending this event, although I’ve heard about it for a number of years. There were groups from a number of different eras, although the majority were from World War 2. It was great to see a lot of familiar faces from the Living History scene, and I even learned a thing or two along the way!

 

1

Christmas the American GI way

Everyone was spread out throughout the park, some camped out in the yard and others in the different buildings and wings of the fort itself. There were signs throughout the fort that gave its history through the years, but it was cold as bollocks and I didn’t stop to read them. Maybe next time.

I enjoyed the smaller scale of the event, as it gave me more of a chance to look at all the different displays and more time to engage in conversation with the other participants. It was also fun to sit back and watch the interaction with the public. Because there was a huge public turnout. It was fantastic. Even though none of the buildings had anything resembling heat, the public came out in droves and were engaged for the whole time. Tour guides, rangers, and living historian MPs helped guide the public from building to building, and with the general sense of Christmas anticipation, it was quite a lovely time.

Thanks, Fort Mott. Keep up the good work!

2

A “North Korean” soldier and an American airman. This display was more generic Korean War and less focused on Christmas. Someone get these men a real flag.

3

Christmas during the London Blitz was spent in the Underground tunnels where things like fruit and decorations were a luxury.

4

A Polish Christmas during World War 2 displaying lots of cultural traditions that are continued to this day.

5

Some officers of the USS Olympia (World War 1) decorate and have time for festive biscuits, but must continue to slog through paperwork for the war effort.

 

I’m not entirely sure of his story but he says his emperor had been notified of the birth of one whom some claim was the Christ, or how that figure affected the Roman empire, and this soldier’s legion was affected.

Not pictured:  Both a Union and Confederate Christmas display,  A French Zouave outfit, A Colonial Winter Camp, at least one German (World War 2) display

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