Friday, August 29, 2014

Remembering the acts of the greatest generation

Last weekend, my wife and I made the drive up to Conneaut, Ohio to once again attend the annual D-Day Conneaut event.  This year marked our third trip to the event and each year it keeps getting bigger and better.  If you've ever been to a reenactment before then you know it consists of a group of living historians that step out of their daily lives and put themselves into an individual of the era they are trying to portray.  At D-Day Conneaut the era is for events that surround June 6, 1944 when planes and ships crossed the English Channel and began the process of eliminating the Nazis.  
Now people might think that these folks are nothing more then "John Wayne" types that are just playing army.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I've had the opportunity to meet and get to know these reenactors and have learned that they are very passionate about keeping history alive.   But what's special about D-Day Conneaut is that that the people that were there and took part in that day also attend.  And from the looks on their faces and hearing them speak, they are appreciative of the efforts taken to tell their stories.  No one can image the horror and fear those men once felt that fateful day.  But hearing them interact, share and laugh with the current generation keeping their tales alive, you can see it on their faces.  I had the opportunity to be around a group of 101st Airborne reenactors when two gentlemen approached the group.  Instantly everyone stopped what their were doing and gathered around the two former paratroopers.  Quickly, the younger men starting asking questions like, "Did you wear your uniform this way?" or "Did you have this on your helmet this way?".  It was something else.  The two older men that were at Normandy felt welcomed, smiled, told stories and the entire group quickly bonded.  Was really a great moment to be there with the camera.
The climax of the weekend, of course, is the invasion. For over an hour landing craft shuttle reenactors from off the far side of the beach to the area of the beach in front of the Axis reenactors and a full fledged battle takes place with the Allies storming up the beach while the Axis tries to repel.  In the end, a moment of silence is held after the Allies take the German positions and handshakes, smiles and relief is shared between both sides.  If you ever have a chance to attend, this is a must.  And do it soon while members of that greatest generation are still with us and you can experience that history yourself. And you can thank them, too.

The full sets of my images can be found on my Flickr, 

I've also made a set of images from this year as well as some from last for sale on my gallery site.  Those can be found here.