Michigan volunteer group works to re-enact life during the civil war

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OKEMOS, Mich. (WLNS)—Dozens of members of the 7th Michigan Volunteer infantry are setting up camp at the Meridian Historical society. They’re re-enacting what life was like during the civil war for two days straight with a goal to educate younger generations, and for one man it’s a personal mission.

“I’ve been doing re-enacting for about oh goodness about 40 years now,” said Dave Downing.

Downing is the president of this volunteer infantry. It’s a group that started with an inspiration that goes back to his great-great-grandfather who fought for the union in the civil war more than one hundred and fifty years ago.

“My ancestor was a soldier from Michigan who was in the Michigan third and the 5th regiment and was awarded the medal of honor for capturing a flag.”

So today he and others like captain Doug McComas live out life in the late 1800s. They eat and sleep here rain or shine, and even put on demonstrations of flag-bearing and full-on battles.

“This is a way to show people history in a way that bluntly isn’t boring. We don’t just talk about dates and times and dead generals you get to see the way people lived the way they interact. The tactics of the time” said Captain of the 7th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Doug McComas.

They hope that by bringing history to life that they teach people where they came from.

“That’s a piece that for whatever reason seems to be getting lost more and more in our culture so knowing the good the bad the ugly, but at the end of the day that’s what created us,” said McComas.

Downing says he hopes by teaching others that he’s keeping the legacy alive of his great-great-grandfather and the millions of others who fought for freedom in this country.

“I would hope that he would appreciate that we are trying to come close to what they went through or at least have an appreciation for what they did.”

The group will be out there all day Sunday ready to bring history to life for anyone to come to see.

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