Walt's Look Around: WWII Re-enactors - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: WWII Re-enactors

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
GRENADA COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It was the day after Halloween and if you remember, it had turned quite chilly overnight. We had our first frost of the season that morning. Consequently, the turnout for the twice-yearly encampment and re-enactment wasn't what these troops would like to have seen.

"Usually we have a lot of spectators and re-enactors here," said Donald Johnson. "But I think the weather took a toll on a lot of people here this weekend."

That's what Donald Johnson who lives in West Memphis, Arkansas told us. Some of the other troopers who showed up with him are from Arkansas, too, as well as Alabama and Mississippi. They pitch tents and live the life of a GI for the weekend. It's for them to capture the experience for themselves and for us to learn something from how they do what they do.

“We're not here to glorify war, we're just here to show the public and the young kids what it was like for a soldier to wear the equipment they wear, and the guns they are carrying and things like that," added Johnson. "We're losing veterans, 1500 basically just everyday, there's very few world war two veterans. We just want to challenge the kids go out and shake their hands and tell them they did a wonderful job what they did for us protecting our freedom.”

A part of what they do is engage in mock combat. Grenada Lake is a perfect piece of property for that. The beach makes a great Normandy or Pacific island to re-enact landings. And the woods offer cover for armies approaching one another. And the blank ammunition makes it sound realistic.

Don's dad was in Korea and his wife's dad was in the invasion of Normandy in the 3ed wave. A lot of what Donald has learned has come directly from talking to the veterans themselves.

“A lot of the guys will open up," said Johnson. "Some won't tell you things, they get tear-eyed. Which I understand because war is horrifying.”

And Donald and his troops, troop to the shores of Grenada Lake twice a year to teach us and remind us of the things our parents and grandparents generation went through just to get us to where we are today.

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