A large group of individuals from Missouri recently received an “award of authenticity” from the Smithsonian Institute for their commitment and excellence in the growing field of Civil War reenactment. The statement from the Smithsonian elaborated a bit further on the award in their letter of recognition.
“Many people in the great state of Missouri have been steadfast reenactors of the Civil War since the late 1800s. For them, reenactment has become a part of their everyday lives, with many displaying Confederate flags on the sides of their porches or barns to signal their commitment to fellow reenactors. The amount of effort these individuals take to totally imitate an average Confederate soldier or supporter is outstanding.”
The Smithsonian specifically referenced the use of hateful language and divisive behavior as reasons for choosing Missouri over other strong candidates such as Alabama or South Carolina. A few local residents offered their take on the prestigious award, including Will Riseagain, a local leader in the small town of Bethany, Missouri.
“I think it is just darn amazing that a state that wrongfully joined the Union during the war is so committed to portraying the true heroes in a positive light. I know the residents of Bethany, Missouri feel much better with everyone joining in and displaying their Southern pride for all to see.”
Dr. Martin King, a Smithsonian expert on reenactment, offered his own take on why the award was so well deserved.
“To me, it was initially unclear as to if the people even knew that the South had lost the war and that Missouri was a Union state. This appearance made it totally believable when they would say racist epithets and put Confederate stickers on their trucks.”
Alabama and South Carolina reenactment representatives were unavailable for a full interview as their crosses were on fire at the time, but assured us that competition would be stiffer for next year’s award.