Cedar Creek Goes On In Spite of Threats

by Fred Ray on October 16, 2017 · 0 comments

If you haven’t been to the Cedar Creek re-enactment I recommend you go. It’s one of the largest, maybe the largest re-enactment of the year, and at least on the occasions I’ve been there it’s been very well conducted. This year was different, however.

In normal years, taps would be played and each side would march back to its tent encampments. But this was hardly a normal year. Last week, organizers announced they had received a letter threatening “bodily harm” to attendees. And Saturday, the battlefield had to be temporarily cleared because a suspicious device, possibly a pipe bomb, was found.

“U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” the reenactors began shouting, underscoring not just their sense of patriotism but the umbrage many felt at having their hobby dragged into the national debate over race and Confederate-era symbolism.

“We wanted to send a message,” said Keith MacGregor, 56, from Lebanon, Pa., who was playing the role of a Union infantry captain for the reenactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek, held not far from here. “We wanted to show the U.S. that we aren’t going to let some terrorist, or some nut, stop the event. I was never prouder of people in our hobby.”

Before and after the minute-long “U.S.A.” chant, the two sides who acted out the battle came together and thanked each other for coming – and for staying. “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played and sung. So was “Dixie.”

We may have to start carrying live Minies if this keeps up. Unfortunately, it was pretty predictable that the culture wars would spread to the re-enacting community, and eventually to the battlefields as well. Like the last one, you may have to pick a side no matter how much you’d like to stay out of it.

Songwriter Stephen Foster is also on the removal hit list.

Sculpted in 1900 by Giuseppe Moretti, the 10-foot-tall statue has long been controversial for its depiction of an African-American banjo player at the feet of the Pittsburgh-born composer. Critics say the statue glorifies white appropriation of black culture, and depicts the vacantly smiling musician in a way that is at best condescending and at worst racist.

And even Abe Lincoln isn’t quite pc enough these days (is anyone?). At

“Everyone thinks of Lincoln as the great, you know, freer of slaves, but let’s be real: He owned slaves, and as natives, we want people to know that he ordered the execution of native men,” Misha Johnson, co-president of fiscal relations for Wunk Sheek told the Daily Cardinal, one of the student newspapers. “Just to have him here at the top of Bascom is just really belittling.”

Calling Lincoln a slave holder shows the unfortunate level of history education at University of Wisconsin-Madison.


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