World War II Weekend at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum is the biggest WWII living history event in the country. It's a whole weekend completely devoted to World War II - planes and tanks and jeeps (oh my), encampments and re-enactors, demonstrations and battles, music and dancing, and of course lots of veterans. My family had been looking forward to it- planning, researching and getting more and more excited for months. Not only was it thrilling to be so immersed in our favorite time period for two whole days, but there is great joy in being together with so many people who share your same interest and passion and who are enjoying it as much as you are.
As soon as we got through the entrance gates someone asked Josiah if he really played the accordion, and as he gave a demo a friendly German gave Eliza a dance.
There is a charming little French village, unfortunately occupied by the Germans. The skirmishes to retake the village are always very exciting.
Veteran speakers gave talks throughout the day.
And of course nothing beats meeting the veterans who served. Shaking their hands, hearing their stories, collecting their autographs - it's the best. When Anna greeted this gentleman with "Thank you for your service!", without missing a beat he surprised her by replying, "Thank you for wearing your Miraculous Medal!"
If we can't find our daughters, it usually means they've gone off following the pipes.
Last year the girls dressed as French resistance, but they wanted to do a more authentic impression this year. As my husband and children have some Polish ancestry, and some Hungarians did indeed assist the Poles, it was decided we would portray the Polish resistance as a family, as the resistance movement had members of all ages and even the women and children were vitally important to the cause. Folks around here started reading all they could find about the Polish Home Army and especially the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, during which the brave and heroic Poles attempted to take back their city from the German occupation.The girls spent many hours researching period photos and working out our outfits. Josiah made a few German-style hats (as the Poles often wore confiscated items) and Lydia made Polish eagles to embellish them.
Thus we were very excited when we found the encampment of genuine Polish re-enactors and they greeted us in Polish as we walked up! Alas, we could only reply in English. Still, the Poles were very happy to see us and approved of our impression.
Mary Rose had taught herself the Polish National Anthem Boże, coś Polskę (God Save Poland) and she sang it together with one of the re-enactors while Josiah played it on the accordion. That was a lovely moment.
Make way for the President!
Eliza impressed us all with Hot Cross Buns and Cuckoo,feet pumping all the time.
There is a special hut where Battle of the Bugle veterans gather to share stories and memories.
But most unexpected and exciting of all- we met a veteran of the Polish Resistance! He fought in the Warsaw Uprising at the age of 15. We all felt so very honored to meet him. Mary Rose got to sing with him too.
And the day ends with a big swing dance in the hangar on Friday and Saturday evenings.
That's World War II Weekend!
"It was once said that history is a teacher of life! The contemporary consumer society tends instead to relegate human beings to the present, to make them lose their sense of the past, of history; but by so doing it also deprives them of the ability to understand themselves, to perceive problems and to build the future. Therefore, dear young women and dear young men, I want to say to you: the Christian is someone who has a good memory, who loves history, and seeks to know it." - Pope Benedict XVI