The Mint Hill Historical Society is once again paying homage to veterans and celebrating American history through its annual Salute to Veterans and War Between the States presentations.
The free events take place at the society’s Carl J. McEwen Historical Village, 7601 Matthews-Mint Hill Road in Mint Hill, for local schools and students Friday, Nov. 2, and events open to the public at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 3, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Visitors will have a chance to step back in history as demonstrators and re-enactors offer hands-on experience in Civil War history. The society also will display military memorabilia.
“We have local residents bring in treasures they have brought back from (wars) or things that have been passed on,” said Sue McDonald, administrative director of the historical society. “That is our history and that’s our mission here. We have as much local memorabilia as we can find.”
Guests will represent characters like Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, Lee’s daughter, Mildred, Clara Barton and Deacon Jones, who offers an African-American perspective on the war. Some of these re-enactors will remain in character throughout the entire event.
“The two generals with uniforms on never leave their character,” McDonald said. “They don’t talk to (visitors) like they’re themselves; they talk to them like who they are (portraying).”
At 7 p.m. on Friday, the historical society will present another Civil War-related event open to the public: “The Last Meeting Campfire.” The event recounts the evening of May 1, 1863, when the chieftains of the Confederacy studied a military map by a campfire’s glow, planning their surprise attack to infiltrate the Northern line. The event features a real campfire and hot chocolate.
But not all aspects of the weekend are about the Civil War. The event will feature Sid Gelman who will recount his experience fighting the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. Visitors can view uniforms, supplies and military equipment of that era and even sawdust bread that was fed to prisoners of war during.
On Saturday at 11 a.m., the society will hold a special flag retirement ceremony. Members of Boy Scout Troop 144, which meets at Blair Road United Methodist Church, will perform the ceremony.
“What I look forward to every year is just sharing all the history – to reach the children and to watch the wonderment in their eyes,” McDonald said.