A Civil War reenactment that was set for Sunday morning in Middletown, Virginia to display a reenactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek, was threatened by what was possibly a pipe bomb in the battle field as well as a letter that threatened to do “bodily harm” to the attendees, reports MSN News.
Normally, taps would be played at the battlefield and each side would march back to its encampments, but this year the civil war reenactors and attendees were put in danger from these threats.
But that didn’t stop the attendees who proceeded to shout “USA, USA, USA!” over and over, underscoring not just their sense of patriotism but the defiance that many of them felt for having their hobby threatened.
“We wanted to send a message,” said Keith MacGregor, 56, from Lebanon, Pa., who was playing the role of a Union infantry captain for the reenactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek, held not far from here. “We wanted to show the U.S. that we aren’t going to let some terrorist, or some nut, stop the event. I was never prouder of people in our hobby.”
After the two sides did the USA chant, they reenacted the battle and came together ans shook hands. They all thanked each other for coming and the “Star-Spangled Banner” was played, along with “Dixie.”
Because of the threat, the public was not allowed onto the battlefield or into the reenactor camps on Sunday, but could watch from a safe distance.
Local Law enforcement would not say what the “suspicious item” was that they found on the battlefield about 4 p.m. on Saturday, which is what promoted them to evacuate the immediate area. But several reenactors said it looked like a pipe bomb.
In a statement Sunday, the FBI said that “the device was located during an annual reenactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek. No persons were harmed and the device was rendered safe by the Virginia State Police.”
The battle that was being shown originally took place on Oct. 19, 1964 and was a victory for the Union. Organizers of the event were worried about possible trouble happening at the reenactment because of the recent racial tension that has plagued the nation over the removal of Civil War monuments.
Some spectators, like George Rust from Winchester, Virginia, said that he thought the notice about the threat had dissuaded people from coming out to the usually very popular event.
“There’s not near the spectators,” Rust said. “Usually, on Saturday, you can’t walk around here.”
The 66-year old construction worker said that events like these battle reenactments are important during this time when history is coming under attack and it’s important, especially for the younger generation, to be learning about this point in history.
Even members who would partake in the confederate side of the reenactment took a hit in participation.
“The Confederate camp looked to me only half-strength of what it was last year,” said Mark Corley, 58, a former co-worker and friend of Rust’s from Cumberland, Md.
Most of the public that was there were just wanting to participate in a fun activity that their whole family could enjoy while also witnessing a little bit of history and celebrating a part of America’s history that most liberals today would rather ignore and shut out.
“I have a hard time with people trying to erase our history,” said Karla Macias. “A country can’t be a country without a past.”