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Frank Harlow Day, 2012

I kind of feel like my blog has been hijacked by all this Civil War stuff but I would be neglectful if I didn’t tell you about this year’s Frank Harlow Day. For the first time since holding this event we decided to have it on our town common. Now, I may be biased since I have been pushing for this change for years, but I have to say it was such a good decision. We were more visible, it was more picturesque, and everyone (even Dale) agrees that we should hold it there for all of our future events.

Anyway, I spent the better part of Friday morning doing some baking – peach crumb bars, cherry pie and pumpkin bread and then we set up our camp on Friday afternoon. It was a bit rainy but we managed and Dale actually slept in our tent that night. (I’m no fool, I went to my nice warm, comfortable bed which was less than 1/4 of a mile away.) For the event on Saturday we had fair weather – it was cloudy but it didn’t rain – and we had a great turn out of reenactors and spectators. We set up a recruiting station and everyone who wanted to participate “signed up” and received the name of a Civil War soldier from our town who enlisted.

We had some, errrr, interesting recruits. But I’m betting they learned a bit about what it was like to be a soldier and I’m also betting they had a pretty good time.

Dale and our good friend Doug did a roll call and the names of our soldiers were read and each participant assigned to that soldier’s name responded with a loud “here!” It’s actually a very cool moment during the day and we think it’s a fitting tribute to the sacrifices of these men from 150 years ago.

The best part of the day, though, was when my friend Wendy presented the reproduction flag that our town’s Historical Commission hired her to paint. It’s an exact replica of the 29th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry flag and Wendy painstakingly created it from partial photographs and information. Of course you can’t actually see Wendy in that photo – she’s shy and standing by Dale’s shoulder – but you can see what an amazing job she did painting this flag.

Once the flag presentation was done the company marched across the street to the cemetery to pay respects at Frank Harlow’s grave. (It’s not really his grave but you already know that.) Dale said a few words and they fired a salute and then our friend Ted played “Taps.” There were more than a few tears shed, I can tell you that.

The soldiers then marched back through the cemetery and over to the common for the remainder of the afternoon. We relaxed a bit, talked to spectators about camp life during the Civil War, did some socializing and knitting and . . . wait, there was one other thing . . .what was it . . . oh, now I remember . . .

Celebrated Kentucky Derby Day!

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Great stuff, Carol. I just started researching the Civil War after our trip South in April, and a visit to DC where I learned of the staggering loss of Amercian lives on our soil. Thanks for sharing this info!

  2. This day must have had so much meaning to Dale and you now that your research and discovery has come full circle!

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I’m pretty sure you know about this, but the most recent National Geographic issue has a cover story and articles on the Civil War including re-enactors.

  4. Nice. I’m so glad the weather cooperated for your weekend. Sounds like a good time was had by all.
    BTW…the flag is amazing!

  5. Do you remember the episode of Gilmore Girls when the town reenacted a moment from the Revolutionary War? Your event sounds so much better! (But then you are fortunate to not have Kirk living in your town, yes?)

  6. Well planned and well done Frank Harlow day!! It looks like everyone had a great time and learned more about the Civil War and how it impacted your town. You do such marvelous work!

  7. Dale cuts a very dashing figure.
    Thank you, Carole, for the regularity of your posting – you’re just about the only blogger one can still count on.

  8. I wish we could have been there, such a great living history lesson. The flag is *amazing*!! I’m so glad that the event went well & that the move to the Town Common was a success 🙂

  9. This looks like an intriguing day. Reenacting these events must deepen your understanding of history (or are you just a bunch of adults playing dress up…lol).

  10. I’m so glad you guys had a great day and that the weather held out. I was bummed to have missed it, but I will be there next year! I already put it in my calendar.

    I was wondering if you were going to stay in the tent or sleep at home. LOL!

  11. I think it’s great that you had all the children “recruits”. I see them as future reinactors. I’m sure Dale would love that too. Doesn’t he spend a lot of time on Boy Scouts etc. Never too soon to have a love a history.

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