Kearney Re-Enactors

October 17, 2008 8:08:50 PM PDT
The experience waiting for visitors to Kearney Park the weekend October 17-19 includes meeting people with their hearts and minds in the past and in the present.Battles between Confederate and Union soldiers are the draw for young and old alike to Civil War re-enactments. And largest such gathering on the west coast is a sight to see. And with it are hundreds of people who wear the mantle of the civil war and live it.

Fresno resident Charlie Henry has for two decades, he portrays a Confederate general, "Lt. General Thomas Jonathan Jackson." Stonewall Jackson to friend and foe alike. A name from the history books that captures the attention of those with a love for history and its lessons. Charlie Henry loves passing along those lessons, "It was the war that defined us and made us one nation and after the war you referred to yourself as 'I'm from the United States.'"

It is an interest in history that unites re-enactors everywhere, like Brittany Motte of Fresno, "I love it. I love sewing and making my dresses."

And in some cases that leads to new alliances and changing loyalties. Before Brittany met Jason she was a re-enactor with the Confederacy, "He said, ' I'm in the Berdan's Sharpshooters. Come join my unit, I'll steal you away; steal you away from the south. You can come join the side that wins." Today they are a couple as re-enactors and as 21st century young people. That's fine with Jason, "Now that she's making my clothes I can just buy the wool and the thread and she can make everything else."

This isn't fee-free. This historical hobby can set you back. Brittany's civil war ensemble cost 3-hundred dollars to make at home. His rifle can run up to 9-hundred. Comrade, Tim Pedersen is also a Berdan's Sharpshooter and he told us, "Thankfully some units have a lot of loaner gear, but once you get fully invested it could be a few thousand dollars." But then, everyone pays for their chosen past time, don't they says Brittany Motte, "How much does it cost for a hotel room in San Diego for the weekend, it's just a different outlook on things?"

An outlook free from modern life for a little window of time and one that offers glimpses of a defining time in America.

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