JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – 152 years after the conflict ended, we’re still seeing the impacts of the American Civil as Confederate monuments are toppled and reenactments are canceled in the wake of racially-charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Given the recent controversy, 6 News talked with organizers of a big event this weekend in Jackson about how they’re approaching that history in this sensitive time.
This Saturday and Sunday, the Cascades Park in Jackson will be the site of some major civil war battles for the annual Jackson Civil War Muster.
As that’s happening, a different but related battle is going on across the country.
The north and south will meet again, waging war on the rolling hills of the park.
“It’s really quite like stepping back in time,” said organizer Kim Conant.
The Civil War muster is now in its 33rd year, featuring battle reenactments, vendors, and living history demonstrations.
“All these wonderful things you can see and experience. It’s a hands-on experience in history,” Conant said.
The recent tensions surrounding how we recognize confederate history is bringing a lot of attention to Jackson’s muster.
Conant says the event doesn’t take sides.
“We accurately portray history. People have asked me, ‘Will you see the Confederate flag?’ Yes you will. But, you will see it on the battlefield where it is appropriate. You’re not going to find it sold on the boulevard,” Conant said.
She says so far they haven’t gotten any negative feedback, but there will be a police presence.
“We have that every year. Because we have 27-30,000 people through this park,” Conant said.
Vickie St. John is a reenactor who’s been coming to the muster for 15 years.
St. John says she comes back every year to show how the war impacted the lives of everyday people.
“There is so much more to the Civil War than just general’s names and battles. There are people involved, there are people who participated,” St. John said.
Organizers say it’s important for people to learn about the war that continues to shape our nation.
“You don’t need to glorify, you don’t need to celebrate, because it was a horrible chapter of our history. But if you don’t remember it, you’re doomed to repeat it,” Conant said.
The muster kicks off Saturday morning and has events all the way up until Sunday night.