Henry and Kristl barely survived Gettysburg

“Oh my god..”  Kristl  was holding her head between her hands.

“Did you know there is an extended version.” Henry gave her a rueful look.. It is only seventeen minutes longer. So well,  if you plan to sit through the whole movie, you might as well add the extra eight percent of the extended version. Just for kicks.

“Oh my god.” Krist repeated as if in trance..

“Must have been really cool to be one of those guys in uniform. One with the guys.  Playing at soldier;the biggest danger being to get a sunburn. That is what it basically is:  a reenactment movie with established actors filling in the important roles. And one has to mention Jeff Daniels; he was great..”

“Oh my god.”

“I can imagine those reenactors sitting together in a shack to display this movie: their movie. Son, that is us marching there and that is Wily Bee. And there is Sam Navarra, you know he runs the grocery store down the road.. And in the background just between the legs of Lee’s horse you see Luke “the Doc” Mcpharil tending the wounded.  And that there is…” Henry smiled, “You see that picture?”

“Oh my…”

“You can stop now.”  Henry grabbed Kristls arm, “You made your point.”

“It is so boring.They should make two movies: one for the civil war buffs and another for the rest of the world. The last one should be the first but cut by half and arranged around Jeff Daniels. And perhaps throw in some maps so we have an idea where he is.”  Kristl said.

“Hmm”

“There is almost no dialogue, mostly speeches. The kind where  they stare into the distance as if it is the future and they say something like: this battle will be remembered by future generations because they will know we stood here with proud hearts… etc.”

“They did it all the time and that is why most battles were such muddled affairs.” Henry said

“Commander.. what are your orders?” Henry mimicked a voice with southern accent..

“Sorry soldier, got to ride to yonder hill to make a speech meant for destiny! And away was Lee, leaving the tactics of the battle in the hands of whomever was willing to supply the asker with orders.” Henry said.

“Oh my…”

“I tell you the most important lesson of this movie though. Which can only truly be evaluated when watching another movie which is called Civil War reenactment documentary. About everyone interviewed must have been about  thirty pounds heavier than their civil war counterparts. Which is probably why you never see them much up close. If they could learn anything of this is that the civil war soldier was more likely to die from a bullet than from obesity, while now it’s probably the other way around. “

Kristl shrugged, “I can not understand why people want to reenact warfare. Especially when it gets pervaded with an air of snobbery like: we are doing something worthwhile here, while you are doing not. If you want delve into history as part your identity crisis there are so many peaceful ways.”

“Ah peaceful. Nobody makes a movie about non-violent stuff, because nobody wants to watch it. This is guys playing with guns and someone once said: never get between a man and his gun..”

“Oh my god. I bet it was John Wayne.”

“You’re a man or you’re are not.” Henry grinned.

“Wait a moment” Kristl grabbed her mobile and started to press the keys.

“What are you doing?”

“I get you a few pizzas. With about thirty pounds extra on that frame of yours, you might blend in with the reenactment community. Then you put on any old rags you can find and pass yourself off as a confederate soldier. You play with guns and act all snobbery because you have something of historical value to pass on, while all the while you are nothing better than other people playing video games, drawing pictures, doing origami, climbing mountains or watching horror movies. Because the only thing a war learns is that it is a horrible affair that should be avoided because it kills people.”

“Uhm. You are quite vehement about that.” Henry was taken aback .

“Yes. And I will tell you why. I happen to have been so stupid to spend most of life on the study of warfare. Now you think 620.000 people is much. Compare that to the Taiping Rebellion at roughly the same time. It killed at least fifty times as many people and might even have killed a hundred times more. And this was no warfare in which women and children were spared. No everyone was killed. Cities destroyed, countries wasted.  It was total war. And I doubt you will find anyone willing to reenact that.  Now if some civil war re-enactor wants  to learn something from his past, he might at least learn to eat less and exercise more, because that war is a horrible thing is apparently lost on him.” And, overcome with emotion Kristl stormed out of the garage.

Henry listened to  the door shutting and thought that letting Kristl cool down was the wisest thing to do.He then went to the kitchen and brewed some home made coffee according to a trusted and tried recipe that his family had handed down the generations and he knew it was something from his American past that Kristl really liked.

Gettysburg on imdb
Taiping Rebellion Wikipedia
Taiping Rebellion on you tube
Civil War Reenactment Documentary 1 on you tube
Civil War Reenactment Documentary 2 on you tube

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