Anniversary celebration is history at Fort Frederick

May 29, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

BIG POOL - The father of a 7-year-old boy obsessed with forts, Jim Rubin, of Washington, D.C., said his family has seen a little bit of everything - including one re-enactment featuring soldiers from every time period.

"We've been on a rolling tour of Washington-area forts," said Rubin, as he sat with his wife and two sons under a tree at Fort Frederick State Park.

Red-coated British officers, paint-smeared Indians and a motley crew of French hunters were among the groups portrayed Sunday on the final day of Fort Frederick's 250th anniversary celebration. A Civil War band played outside the walls.

No Huns or Roman warriors tried storming the fortress Sunday, though Rubin said he once saw a demonstration featuring both groups at another fort.


Fidelity to the fort's history is important, said Pat Robertson, 65.

"There's always something new to learn and understand, and I think events like this really help young people and people like us understand history. It is a great history lesson," said Robertson, as she and her husband, Steve Robertson, 72, listened to the Civil War band.

As a single woman, Kim Brennan, 33, who lives near Pittsburgh, said she initially wanted to be involved in Civil War re-enactments.

"I've been a history buff all my life," Brennan said.

But in a dirty dress, wearing dangling silver earrings, Brennan said she's found another calling.

"I am an unmarried woman, I am a redeemed captive," Brennan said as re-enactors portraying British soldiers tossed their gear on tilted wood bunks in the men's quarters at the fort.

Brennan said she portrays a woman who travels with soldiers after being freed from Indians.

"I kind of fell into this. Civil War told me they had enough widows and nurses, so they couldn't use anymore single and unattached women," Brennan said.

For Rubin's son, Conall, who loves forts, the French and Indian-era weapons displayed in tactical maneuvers Sunday were the most interesting part of the event, his parents said.

Though Conall was shy about discussing the fort, his friend, Josh, the son of Rubin's friend, Jack Sobel, showed no reluctance in saying which army he rooted for during a battle between the French and the Red Coats.

"I like the blues because they're evil," said Josh, 7.

Jack Sobel, of Bethesda, Md., said he was impressed by the fort and its history.

"It's a nice recollection of the past, and it tells our kids something about our history, and it tells us something about our history, most of which we learned in school, but we forgot," Sobel said. "So, this gives some meaning to Memorial Day."

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