AMHERST – For a brief period of time life was like it was in the trenches of World War II here Saturday.
The Maritimes World War II Re-enactment Unit pitched their tents on the grounds of the Cumberland County Museum and Archives here in Amherst for two-days, giving veterans and today’s members of the Canadian Forces and, especially, civilians a glimpse at living history. Dressed in attire of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and the First Canadian Division re-enactors ran drills, marched and participated in a wreath laying at the community’s cenotaph while German and Russian soldiers kept watch on the displays.
Terry Randall shoulders a sub-machine gun and explains the re-enactors got their start three years ago with a core membership of four like-minded individuals and now have 33 members booked solid for appearances over the next two years.
“A lot of history groups stick to representing a certain regiment but when we formed we wanted to address all groups, all ages, all sexes,” Randall said.
By and large, the Canadians command the strongest presence with the re-enactors. Veterans stared a little bit longer as they marched towards the cenotaph and children wanted to stand at attention next to them during Saturdays wreath laying ceremony. From head to toe, their period uniforms represent a military past that earned the respect of its peers and the men who sacrificed their lives for others.
“I think it’s great to see,” councilor Terry Rhindress said. “My father was in the First World War; one step brother was in the army and my brothers were in the militia here…seeing this brings up a lot of memories.”