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!
Christmas the American GI way
I saw Warhorse in theaters a number of years ago with a friend. I can’t remember what exactly drew us to the film because I only had a vague notion of the plot and had no idea who the actors were. It was probably because it was a World War I film, and reasons like “It’s a movie” is usually enough to make me do a lot of things.
Walking out of the theater, I remember having enjoyed it greatly, although left with some questions about the underlying plot-that is, how factual is it. Because the movie is about a horse, which one should be able to infer from the title. And yet somehow Steven Spielberg managed to make a successfully realistic war movie with a horse as the main character. Better yet, there weren’t any gimmicks or schmaltzy bits like subtitles when the horses were clearly talking to each other. They were characters without being grossly anthropomorphized. My friend’s grandfather, who watched it with us, said it was one of the more realistic World War I movies out there, and I’ll have to take his word for it.
(My knowledge of war movies is fairly sparse, and my knowledge of the events they portray is even sparser. They say this movie has some of the most realistic depictions of trench warfare.)
Joey, freaked out, running through German trenches in panic.
These ephemera postings might become a regular thing as I travel the internet faster than I can research, post, or even absorb what crosses my path.
For example, I believe today is the 150th anniversary of Admiral David Farragut‘s victory at Mobile Bay, where he famously said, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” because the Confederates had, you know, defenses for this strategic position. Defenses like torpedoes, I would assume. I’ve always wanted to read more about Farragut but have never been able to fit him into my historical dance card.
Guys, I learn all sorts of things doing “research” for this blog
The other big thing is that August 4 marks the declaration on Germany by Britain, taking Germany’s declaration of war on Russia and raising them by an empire (think poker here). World War I is a small blip on the American radar, but the Royal Family has certainly been oot and aboot. And because the American media is obsessed with British Royalty (wait, what was the Revolutionary war about people??), the American media has been brought along on all these centenary markings.
And then there’s some other random things I think are interesting.
And so without further ado: This week’s (month’s?) list of ephemera:
The problem(??) with history is that it just keeps on coming. So when you turn around there’s layers upon layers upon layers, like a really, really, really thick slice of baklava. Like Mesosoic baklava. With nuts. Because History is full of nuts.
There have been many historical anniversaries of late, almost too many to keep track of:
- A bunch of Civil War 150th Anniversaries: Monocacy, Ft. Stevens (the only time a sitting [well, standing] President came under direct fire), The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Kennesaw Mountain, Mobile Bay, while Atlanta is coming up in about a week. And those are just some of the big names. In fact, just go check out this link because I’m linking from here anyway.
- The 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. Interesting. WWI was began 50 years after the Civil War.
- The 70th anniversary of DDay.
- The City of Alexandria celebrated its 2xxth birthday with fireworks.
- And apparently today is the 2xxth Bastille Day, celebrated by the French and, I suppose, Americans pretending to have a global outlook.
To commemorate this, have some music:
… by everyone in America. I guess we’re more concerned about coming in at the end and saving the day and taking all the credit, like we do. What am I talking about?
Why, exactly (give or take a couple of hours and the time zone difference…) exactly one hundred years ago today, the world suddenly found itself Sans Ferdinand.
Get it? Get it?