World War II Weekend
Dade Battlefield Historic State Park

Bushnell, FL

August 4-5, 2012

It has been several years since we have added anything to our website. After being on the road constantly for over 10 years we decided it was time to put our reliable motorhome aside and get a "house without wheels". Since we were both interested in music we found an area in Florida that seemed to attract a lot of retired musicians. So we have been playing and singing ever since then. However, a while back I saw an announcement in the local paper about a WWII battle re-enactment. Since I didn't figure we would get to Europe to see one, I mentioned it to Bob. Ladies, you know how men are about playing soldier. Bob was raring to go as soon as I mentioned it. We had been to the Dade Battlefield before for the Major Francis Dade Massacre which was a re-enactment of a battle between the local Seminole Indians and a company of soldiers that were coming to Florida to move the Indians to Oklahoma. You can check it out by clicking on the above link.

While the re-enactment went on both Saturday and Sunday we chose Sunday for our visit. Fortunately we went early as the battle began earlier than they had posted in the paper. When we arrived we were able to find seats in the bleacher seats. There was a Captain (Arthur Durshimer) representing the Allied forces that was giving a talk to the audience about the type of weaponry used during that era. They had loud speakers blaring music from the 40's during his talk. As the Captain was talking I realized people to my right and left in the audience were speaking German. I was wondering if maybe I was on the opposition bleachers. But seriously, they were very nice folks. Also, my maiden name is German so I couldn't say too much. After the Captain was finished with his talk the battle began. Unfortunately it went so quickly and so much was going on it was difficult to follow. It started out with three Allied soldiers running for cover in a building that had been partially blown-up. One of the soldiers had been wounded in the leg.  Then the German soldiers showed up shooting. The three soldiers kept returning fire and then one of them ran towards the rear. It looked to all like he was running away from his comrades. The Germans took the remaining two soldiers prisoners until you heard the Allied troops come from the rear. It seems the man who ran was going to get reinforcements. As you can well imagine here in the U.S. the Allied troops swooped in and saved the day, capturing or killing all the German troops. The thing I like about reenactments is that they are pretty much impromptu. The individual soldiers have certain orders (you die, you live, etc). However, there was one German solder who was shot early in the battle. Well, he fell down, then he leaned up, then he fell down again. Presumably dead, right? At the end a bugler played Taps. The next thing I knew the "dead" German soldier was saluting. I asked him afterwards and he said he was a "loyal American" and just couldn't help himself.

Afterwards we went over to the tents that they have been bivouacking in and were able to look over the weapons (all of which were loaded with blanks or left unloaded). Bob found an M1 carbine rifle that he had used in the service. (And for you smart alecks out there, no it wasn't WWII.) After looking over the tents and weapons we talked with Captain
Durshimer and he told us about an upcoming reenactment they are going to have on the weekend of November 3rd in a small town called Parish, Florida. It is being held at the Florida Railroad Museum.  The thing that I liked was that the "audience" gets to ride the train and interact with both sides. I think the audience is supposed to represent the French peasants who are trying to escape from the fighting. If you are interested look at Florida Railroad Museum. I have a feeling we are going to be there, once again, rooting on the Allied troops. 

Hope you enjoyed my latest story attempt. For those of you traveling keep on doing what you love. For those of you who also live in a "house without wheels" don't forget to look around your area and see what is going on.

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