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NPS Line about "Respect" to Justify Banning Reenactments

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  • Todd Post
    Found this tidbit about reenactments this morning that pokes holes in the NPS statement that having reenactments on actual battlefields are disrespectful to
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 13, 2014
      Found this tidbit about reenactments this morning that pokes holes in the NPS statement that having reenactments on actual battlefields are disrespectful to the memories of those who died there:

      http://shenandoahmagazine.com/4-things-may-know-battle-new-market/

      "The annual reenactment of the Battle of New Market is reputedly the oldest continual reenactment in the nation still held on the original battlefield...The first reenactment at New Market was held around the 50th anniversary of the battle on May 15, 1914, Marshall says, noting that 347 cadets and 28 former cadets who wore gray in 1864 attended, along with crowds of between 6,000 and 8,000."

      I've also read that Lexington and Concord was commemorated by veterans in the 1820s if I remember correctly.

      Cheers,
      Todd

      Sent from my iPad
    • ebolton123
      Todd, Hey man...we all have delt with the NPS for ages and lets face it, doing events on the actual battlefields has nothing to do with disrespecting anything.
      Message 2 of 12 , Apr 13, 2014

        Todd,

          Hey man...we all have delt with the NPS for ages and lets face it, doing events on the actual battlefields has nothing to do with disrespecting anything.  As my father once told me when I asked him if it bothered him that I reenacted WWII he said..." hell, Bob...I'm just glad that ANYONE is interested in keeping the memory alive!".    It's all about the NPS keeping tight reigns on their little "playgrounds".  Playgrounds which WE pay for.

          I have actually simply stopped doing anything that has NPS involvement.  Their rules and regs are insulting to folks that, in many cases, have more love and respect for those sites than the average "parkie" that just gets up and goes to work everyday.  That's not an all encompassing statement though, as I have known several very cool park employees, and they were of the same mindset, that reenactors do respect these sites....unfortunately, they work under a system that looks at our hobby as a bunch of looney's.  They are, or at least in my experience, in the minority as very many have a lofty opinion of themselves.

          We have all done NPS events where we are almost made to feel like we are untrustworthy miscreants waiting to misbehave, and do damage, and ...OMG...we have weapons, that apparently we do not know how to handle ?   

          The mission of the NPS is to protect and help interpret America's historic sites.  Well, they do the protection part fairly well, but they fail miserably (IMO) in the interp end.  Valley Forge, for example is near dead as far as interp, as well, the huts are near disintegration.   My old group was repeatedly turned down when we offered to show up and have work party days on the huts.  The park seems more interested in the dog walkers and joggers than anyone that wants to come and spend "their" weekend, with "their" kit, and "their" interest in getting the public involved in their own history.  Another park close to me, which I will not name (but it was a 3 day battle in southern Pa. ; )  is like insane with their hold on things.  Now, I have personally been out of that timeperiod for many years, but still have a lot of friends still doing it, and they tell me some pretty interesting stuff.

          Anyway, enough of my opinion, and it is just my opinion, of the NPS.  There are some good people with good ideas I believe,  but the machine just keeps grinding along.    But, I do wish that they would get off that bandwagon of disrespecting any memory.   I wonder just how many of them have stood in front of bulldozers that were about to level a historic site in favor of "progress"...I have.

        Cheers,

        Bob  

      • Tate Jones
        As someone who attempts to follow the historiography of preservation practices, would like to hear more....is this recent or developed over years. Specific
        Message 3 of 12 , Apr 13, 2014

          As someone who attempts to follow the historiography of preservation practices, would like to hear more....is this recent or developed over years. Specific administrators or incidents set it off? Archaeological issues? Bad feelings among older administrators from cartoonish-leaning Civil
          War centennial events? Urban-trained NPSers  distrustful of guns?  Please let fly...
          Sent from my iPhone

          On Apr 13, 2014, at 9:40 AM, ebolton123@... wrote:

           

          Todd,

            Hey man...we all have delt with the NPS for ages and lets face it, doing events on the actual battlefields has nothing to do with disrespecting anything.  As my father once told me when I asked him if it bothered him that I reenacted WWII he said..." hell, Bob...I'm just glad that ANYONE is interested in keeping the memory alive!".    It's all about the NPS keeping tight reigns on their little "playgrounds".  Playgrounds which WE pay for.

            I have actually simply stopped doing anything that has NPS involvement.  Their rules and regs are insulting to folks that, in many cases, have more love and respect for those sites than the average "parkie" that just gets up and goes to work everyday.  That's not an all encompassing statement though, as I have known several very cool park employees, and they were of the same mindset, that reenactors do respect these sites....unfortunately, they work under a system that looks at our hobby as a bunch of looney's.  They are, or at least in my experience, in the minority as very many have a lofty opinion of themselves.

            We have all done NPS events where we are almost made to feel like we are untrustworthy miscreants waiting to misbehave, and do damage, and ...OMG...we have weapons, that apparently we do not know how to handle ?   

            The mission of the NPS is to protect and help interpret America's historic sites.  Well, they do the protection part fairly well, but they fail miserably (IMO) in the interp end.  Valley Forge, for example is near dead as far as interp, as well, the huts are near disintegration.   My old group was repeatedly turned down when we offered to show up and have work party days on the huts.  The park seems more interested in the dog walkers and joggers than anyone that wants to come and spend "their" weekend, with "their" kit, and "their" interest in getting the public involved in their own history.  Another park close to me, which I will not name (but it was a 3 day battle in southern Pa. ; )  is like insane with their hold on things.  Now, I have personally been out of that timeperiod for many years, but still have a lot of friends still doing it, and they tell me some pretty interesting stuff.

            Anyway, enough of my opinion, and it is just my opinion, of the NPS.  There are some good people with good ideas I believe,  but the machine just keeps grinding along.    But, I do wish that they would get off that bandwagon of disrespecting any memory.   I wonder just how many of them have stood in front of bulldozers that were about to level a historic site in favor of "progress"...I have.

          Cheers,

          Bob  

        • Todd Post
          Tate, The NPS makes their case in this video: http://youtu.be/9QcnURKwilg The matter was studied extensively in Cathy Stanton s Reenactors in the Parks :
          Message 4 of 12 , Apr 13, 2014
            Tate,

            The NPS makes their case in this video: http://youtu.be/9QcnURKwilg

            The matter was studied extensively in Cathy Stanton's "Reenactors in the Parks": http://www.nps.gov/revwar/reenactors/intro.pdf

            In my experience, while the "party line" from NPS HQ are the reasons in their video, at the park level it really depends on the staff. I have had some tremendous, awesome, very cool experiences at NPS sites and I have had awful, terrible, infuriating ones too. The difference came down to the staff. Some NPS staff members see reenactors as a welcome addition, while others see them as a troublesome burden.

            That being said, you can't say that the NPS is bad to work with as it varies from park-to-park, but the BS that is spouted by the leadership is that reenactments are disrespectful and damaging to the parks.

            Cheers,
            Todd

            Sent from my iPad

            On Apr 13, 2014, at 12:50 PM, Tate Jones <militarymuseu45@...> wrote:


            As someone who attempts to follow the historiography of preservation practices, would like to hear more....is this recent or developed over years. Specific administrators or incidents set it off? Archaeological issues? Bad feelings among older administrators from cartoonish-leaning Civil
            War centennial events? Urban-trained NPSers  distrustful of guns?  Please let fly...
            Sent from my iPhone

            On Apr 13, 2014, at 9:40 AM, ebolton123@... wrote:

             

            Todd,

              Hey man...we all have delt with the NPS for ages and lets face it, doing events on the actual battlefields has nothing to do with disrespecting anything.  As my father once told me when I asked him if it bothered him that I reenacted WWII he said..." hell, Bob...I'm just glad that ANYONE is interested in keeping the memory alive!".    It's all about the NPS keeping tight reigns on their little "playgrounds".  Playgrounds which WE pay for.

              I have actually simply stopped doing anything that has NPS involvement.  Their rules and regs are insulting to folks that, in many cases, have more love and respect for those sites than the average "parkie" that just gets up and goes to work everyday.  That's not an all encompassing statement though, as I have known several very cool park employees, and they were of the same mindset, that reenactors do respect these sites....unfortunately, they work under a system that looks at our hobby as a bunch of looney's.  They are, or at least in my experience, in the minority as very many have a lofty opinion of themselves.

              We have all done NPS events where we are almost made to feel like we are untrustworthy miscreants waiting to misbehave, and do damage, and ...OMG...we have weapons, that apparently we do not know how to handle ?   

              The mission of the NPS is to protect and help interpret America's historic sites.  Well, they do the protection part fairly well, but they fail miserably (IMO) in the interp end.  Valley Forge, for example is near dead as far as interp, as well, the huts are near disintegration.   My old group was repeatedly turned down when we offered to show up and have work party days on the huts.  The park seems more interested in the dog walkers and joggers than anyone that wants to come and spend "their" weekend, with "their" kit, and "their" interest in getting the public involved in their own history.  Another park close to me, which I will not name (but it was a 3 day battle in southern Pa. ; )  is like insane with their hold on things.  Now, I have personally been out of that timeperiod for many years, but still have a lot of friends still doing it, and they tell me some pretty interesting stuff.

              Anyway, enough of my opinion, and it is just my opinion, of the NPS.  There are some good people with good ideas I believe,  but the machine just keeps grinding along.    But, I do wish that they would get off that bandwagon of disrespecting any memory.   I wonder just how many of them have stood in front of bulldozers that were about to level a historic site in favor of "progress"...I have.

            Cheers,

            Bob  

          • Jake Koch
            Todd,        For what its worth New Market is not affiliated with the National Park Service, it is a Virginia State Park. The part about reenactments on
            Message 5 of 12 , Apr 13, 2014
              Todd,
               
                   For what its worth New Market is not affiliated with the National Park Service, it is a Virginia State Park. The part about reenactments on NPS sites not being respectful is what you see at average reenactments where people are essentially pretending to be shot - with all the moaning, groaning, and theatrics that sometimes goes along with that. As far as Civil War parks go at least it depends on the park, some are very supportive of Living History and Living History Volunteers in general, some perhaps not so much.
               
              Regards,
              Jake

              From: Todd Post <todd.post2@...>
              To: "Revlist@yahoogroups.com" <Revlist@yahoogroups.com>; "RWProgressive@yahoogroups.com" <RWProgressive@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2014 9:44 AM
              Subject: [Revlist] NPS Line about "Respect" to Justify Banning Reenactments

               
              Found this tidbit about reenactments this morning that pokes holes in the NPS statement that having reenactments on actual battlefields are disrespectful to the memories of those who died there:

              http://shenandoahmagazine.com/4-things-may-know-battle-new-market/

              "The annual reenactment of the Battle of New Market is reputedly the oldest continual reenactment in the nation still held on the original battlefield...The first reenactment at New Market was held around the 50th anniversary of the battle on May 15, 1914, Marshall says, noting that 347 cadets and 28 former cadets who wore gray in 1864 attended, along with crowds of between 6,000 and 8,000."

              I've also read that Lexington and Concord was commemorated by veterans in the 1820s if I remember correctly.

              Cheers,
              Todd

              Sent from my iPad


            • ebolton123
              Tate, All of the above. Each of the points you bring up can be studied on its own. But, I think a big point here is that to the average Joe , history is less
              Message 6 of 12 , Apr 13, 2014
                Tate, All of the above. Each of the points you bring up can be studied on its own. But, I think a big point here is that to the average "Joe", history is less of a priority than ever.....especially, military history. Guns are evil to the minds of many, regardless as to how they were essential then AND now to our liberty. Plus, the general dumbing down of your average American. You know, most people I talk to still don't realize this country is STILL fighting a war in Afghanistan. Interesting that this topic sort of melds into the discussion on the show " Turn"? Will it bolster interest among the masses, or likely IMO, not last a season or two, do to being a period piece. Cheers, Bob Bolton
              • Todd Post
                Jake, Referencing New Market had nothing to do with whether it was in the NPS system or not, but rather that in 1914 veterans of the real battle of New Market
                Message 7 of 12 , Apr 13, 2014
                  Jake,

                  Referencing New Market had nothing to do with whether it was in the NPS system or not, but rather that in 1914 veterans of the real battle of New Market attended a reenactment for the 50th anniversary of the battle, so they couldn't have been too offended!

                  Best,
                  Todd

                  Sent from my iPad

                  On Apr 13, 2014, at 1:08 PM, Jake Koch <jake.koch@...> wrote:

                  Todd,
                   
                       For what its worth New Market is not affiliated with the National Park Service, it is a Virginia State Park. The part about reenactments on NPS sites not being respectful is what you see at average reenactments where people are essentially pretending to be shot - with all the moaning, groaning, and theatrics that sometimes goes along with that. As far as Civil War parks go at least it depends on the park, some are very supportive of Living History and Living History Volunteers in general, some perhaps not so much.
                   
                  Regards,
                  Jake

                  From: Todd Post <todd.post2@...>
                  To: "Revlist@yahoogroups.com" <Revlist@yahoogroups.com>; "RWProgressive@yahoogroups.com" <RWProgressive@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2014 9:44 AM
                  Subject: [Revlist] NPS Line about "Respect" to Justify Banning Reenactments

                   
                  Found this tidbit about reenactments this morning that pokes holes in the NPS statement that having reenactments on actual battlefields are disrespectful to the memories of those who died there:

                  http://shenandoahmagazine.com/4-things-may-know-battle-new-market/

                  "The annual reenactment of the Battle of New Market is reputedly the oldest continual reenactment in the nation still held on the original battlefield...The first reenactment at New Market was held around the 50th anniversary of the battle on May 15, 1914, Marshall says, noting that 347 cadets and 28 former cadets who wore gray in 1864 attended, along with crowds of between 6,000 and 8,000."

                  I've also read that Lexington and Concord was commemorated by veterans in the 1820s if I remember correctly.

                  Cheers,
                  Todd

                  Sent from my iPad


                • hm45thfoot
                  I don t think it s fair to tar all NPS sites with the same brush. The NPS-run Revwar battlefield near me is incredibly welcoming to reenactors. In fact they
                  Message 8 of 12 , Apr 13, 2014
                    I don't think it's fair to tar all NPS sites with the same brush. The
                    NPS-run Revwar battlefield near me is incredibly welcoming to reenactors.
                    In fact they really need to tighten up their standards, but they do not
                    exhibit any hostility or disdain whatsoever.

                    As for VAFO, you've got to be fricking kidding me. Some of the absolute
                    best stuff going on in Revwar living history is taking place at VAFO:

                    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152734377244418.1073741865.68283349417&type=1

                    Mark Canady

                    > Todd,
                    > Hey man...we all have delt with the NPS for ages and lets face it,
                    > doing events on the actual battlefields has nothing to do with
                    > disrespecting anything. As my father once told me when I asked him if
                    > it bothered him that I reenacted WWII he said..." hell, Bob...I'm just
                    > glad that ANYONE is interested in keeping the memory alive!". It's
                    > all about the NPS keeping tight reigns on their little "playgrounds".
                    > Playgrounds which WE pay for.
                    > I have actually simply stopped doing anything that has NPS involvement.
                    > Their rules and regs are insulting to folks that, in many cases, have
                    > more love and respect for those sites than the average "parkie" that
                    > just gets up and goes to work everyday. That's not an all encompassing
                    > statement though, as I have known several very cool park employees, and
                    > they were of the same mindset, that reenactors do respect these
                    > sites....unfortunately, they work under a system that looks at our
                    > hobby as a bunch of looney's. They are, or at least in my experience,
                    > in the minority as very many have a lofty opinion of themselves.
                    > We have all done NPS events where we are almost made to feel like we
                    > are untrustworthy miscreants waiting to misbehave, and do damage, and
                    > ...OMG...we have weapons, that apparently we do not know how to handle
                    > ?
                    > The mission of the NPS is to protect and help interpret America's
                    > historic sites. Well, they do the protection part fairly well, but
                    > they fail miserably (IMO) in the interp end. Valley Forge, for example
                    > is near dead as far as interp, as well, the huts are near
                    > disintegration. My old group was repeatedly turned down when we
                    > offered to show up and have work party days on the huts. The park
                    > seems more interested in the dog walkers and joggers than anyone that
                    > wants to come and spend "their" weekend, with "their" kit, and "their"
                    > interest in getting the public involved in their own history. Another
                    > park close to me, which I will not name (but it was a 3 day battle in
                    > southern Pa. ; ) is like insane with their hold on things. Now, I
                    > have personally been out of that timeperiod for many years, but still
                    > have a lot of friends still doing it, and they tell me some pretty
                    > interesting stuff.
                    > Anyway, enough of my opinion, and it is just my opinion, of the NPS.
                    > There are some good people with good ideas I believe, but the machine
                    > just keeps grinding along. But, I do wish that they would get off
                    > that bandwagon of disrespecting any memory. I wonder just how many of
                    > them have stood in front of bulldozers that were about to level a
                    > historic site in favor of "progress"...I have.
                    > Cheers,
                    > Bob
                    >
                    >
                  • John MacLean
                    Todd, On the specifics of the argument in your original message: As described in the May 16, 1914, Richmond Times Dispatch, cadets from VMI had marched from
                    Message 9 of 12 , Apr 13, 2014

                      Todd,

                       

                      On the specifics of the argument in your original message:

                       

                      As described in the May 16, 1914, Richmond Times Dispatch, cadets from VMI had marched from Lexington to New Market, duplicating the march of the cadets of 1864. The celebration on the 15th was described, "This morning the cadets and a large body of Confederate veterans traversed the same ground covered by the Virginia Military Institute boys in 1864, after which they returned to the Bushong House, where they were addressed by Colonel A. B. Colomna, of Washington.

                                      “This afternoon at the memorial exercises and address was delivered by Judge Samuel W. Williams, of Wytheville, former Attorney-General of Virginia, who though a mere boy was a brave soldier in the Civil War.”

                                      Cadets reenacting the march of 1864 to the site of the battle, and cadets and veterans “traversing the grounds” of the battlefield on the 50th celebration, would not correlate with the type of modern reenactment you are referencing.

                       

                                      As for Lexington and Concord, participants were present for celebrations held in the 1820s (and for 75th in 1850), but those celebrations did not include reenactment--lots of speeches.

                       

                      Jack



                      On Sun, Apr 13, 2014 at 10:44 AM, Todd Post <todd.post2@...> wrote:
                       

                      Found this tidbit about reenactments this morning that pokes holes in the NPS statement that having reenactments on actual battlefields are disrespectful to the memories of those who died there:

                      http://shenandoahmagazine.com/4-things-may-know-battle-new-market/

                      "The annual reenactment of the Battle of New Market is reputedly the oldest continual reenactment in the nation still held on the original battlefield...The first reenactment at New Market was held around the 50th anniversary of the battle on May 15, 1914, Marshall says, noting that 347 cadets and 28 former cadets who wore gray in 1864 attended, along with crowds of between 6,000 and 8,000."

                      I've also read that Lexington and Concord was commemorated by veterans in the 1820s if I remember correctly.

                      Cheers,
                      Todd

                      Sent from my iPad




                      --
                      John C. MacLean
                      MassachusettsPublisher@...   /  negensearch@...
                      Editing and Publishing Services  /  Historical and Genealogical Consultant
                    • ebolton123
                      Mark, Not at all...in fact I believe I mentioned that my comment(s) were not all encompassing? That there were some cool folks with good ideas? It was more
                      Message 10 of 12 , Apr 14, 2014
                        Mark, Not at all...in fact I believe I mentioned that my comment(s) were not all encompassing? That there were some cool folks with good ideas? It was more directed at that governmental "machine". As for VF....I haven't done an NPS event for a while so perhaps things have changed at the park. I just never see much when I go there several times a year. As to the other comment made from a different person, I do get the hallowed ground idea and can't agree more. I just suggest that with American interest in their history at an all time low(?), that doing more at the parks up to and including reenactments, might bring more attention to these sacred sites? I can't believe any veteran of any time period would find that disrespectful. Cheers, Bob
                      • dkeas
                        The NPS has a WEEK LONG course for their employee learning how to shoot a canon. Typical government making a mountain out of a mole hill. From: Tate Jones
                        Message 11 of 12 , Apr 14, 2014
                          Re: [Revlist] Re: NPS Line about "Respect" to Justify Banning Reenactments The NPS has a WEEK LONG course for their employee learning how to shoot a canon.  Typical government making a mountain out of a mole hill.



                          From: Tate Jones <militarymuseu45@...>
                          Reply-To: <Revlist@yahoogroups.com>
                          Date: Sun, 13 Apr 2014 10:50:58 -0600
                          To: "Revlist@yahoogroups.com" <Revlist@yahoogroups.com>
                          Subject: Re: [Revlist] Re: NPS Line about "Respect" to Justify Banning Reenactments

                            
                           
                           
                             


                          As someone who attempts to follow the historiography of preservation practices, would like to hear more....is this recent or developed over years. Specific administrators or incidents set it off? Archaeological issues? Bad feelings among older administrators from cartoonish-leaning Civil
                          War centennial events? Urban-trained NPSers  distrustful of guns?  Please let fly...
                          Sent from my iPhone

                          On Apr 13, 2014, at 9:40 AM, ebolton123@... wrote:

                            
                             

                          Todd,

                            Hey man...we all have delt with the NPS for ages and lets face it, doing events on the actual battlefields has nothing to do with disrespecting anything.  As my father once told me when I asked him if it bothered him that I reenacted WWII he said..." hell, Bob...I'm just glad that ANYONE is interested in keeping the memory alive!".    It's all about the NPS keeping tight reigns on their little "playgrounds".  Playgrounds which WE pay for.

                            I have actually simply stopped doing anything that has NPS involvement.  Their rules and regs are insulting to folks that, in many cases, have more love and respect for those sites than the average "parkie" that just gets up and goes to work everyday.  That's not an all encompassing statement though, as I have known several very cool park employees, and they were of the same mindset, that reenactors do respect these sites....unfortunately, they work under a system that looks at our hobby as a bunch of looney's.  They are, or at least in my experience, in the minority as very many have a lofty opinion of themselves.

                            We have all done NPS events where we are almost made to feel like we are untrustworthy miscreants waiting to misbehave, and do damage, and ...OMG...we have weapons, that apparently we do not know how to handle ?   

                            The mission of the NPS is to protect and help interpret America's historic sites.  Well, they do the protection part fairly well, but they fail miserably (IMO) in the interp end.  Valley Forge, for example is near dead as far as interp, as well, the huts are near disintegration.   My old group was repeatedly turned down when we offered to show up and have work party days on the huts.  The park seems more interested in the dog walkers and joggers than anyone that wants to come and spend "their" weekend, with "their" kit, and "their" interest in getting the public involved in their own history.  Another park close to me, which I will not name (but it was a 3 day battle in southern Pa. ; )  is like insane with their hold on things.  Now, I have personally been out of that timeperiod for many years, but still have a lot of friends still doing it, and they tell me some pretty interesting stuff.

                            Anyway, enough of my opinion, and it is just my opinion, of the NPS.  There are some good people with good ideas I believe,  but the machine just keeps grinding along.    But, I do wish that they would get off that bandwagon of disrespecting any memory.   I wonder just how many of them have stood in front of bulldozers that were about to level a historic site in favor of "progress"...I have.

                          Cheers,

                          Bob   

                           
                            

                             


                        • michaeljtgrillo
                          The huts are in horrific shape. The canon park is pretty bad too. Yes it does look like from my visit last July that they just cater too the Cyclist, Yoga
                          Message 12 of 12 , Apr 14, 2014

                             The huts are in horrific shape. The canon park is pretty bad too. Yes it does look like from my  visit last July that they just cater too the Cyclist, Yoga lady on the blanket and the dog walkers and joggers. ( While Toll Brothers buy up the land for high end housing developments .) All ignorant of US history because it's watered down in our schools. History doesn't go past the mid-nineteen century immigrant Ellis Island story for them. I have fond memories as a child visiting. My first visit I was 8 in the Cub Scouts playing in the redoubt. It left a big impression on me then.



                            Mike

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