AP NEWS

Old Fort reenactors bring past into the present

April 13, 2019

It was a lovely day to reenact a war : even a portion of one.

The sun had broken through an overcast sky Saturday, and mild temperatures beckoned visitors to the Old Fort. And they did visit, as reenactors portrayed French and Indian War participants.

“History’s important,” Dexter Roberts said as he showed his grandsons Nollie, 6, and Bennie, 3, around the fort. “If we don’t know where we were, how can we know where we’re going?”

It wasn’t the boys’ first trip to the fort.

“I bring these guys down here every time there’s something going on,” their grandfather said.

The French and Indian War was a complicated conflict that preceded the American Revolution. It pitted the French and their Native American allies against the British and their Native American allies.

“Yes, you really need a scorecard to know what’s happening,” promotional materials for the Old Fort event stated.

The war began in 1754 and ended in 1763 and was the North American front in a larger, global conflict between Great Britain and France called the Seven Years’ War. The historic superpowers fought expensive battles for land, and its costs led in part to American colonists’ moves to seek independence from the British, according to the U.S. State Department Office of the Historian.

Things weren’t so messy inside the local garrison. Reenactors sought to show visitors what life was like around the time the French and Indian War was fought.

Andi Boyer-Hahn, a baker, placed dough for biscuits in the sun to rise and planned for dinner, which would include a quiche with wild onions and asparagus. Nearby, other reenactors studied a cannon and were shown safe ways to load and fire the gun.

Dave Schmid, portraying a commercial fisherman, sat near the entrance to the fort. A reenactor for more than 40 years, he said the past is prologue.

“I get to do something that’s so important for us as humans : bring the honor of the past to the present,” Schmid said.

mleblanc@jg.net