Over forty World War II living history groups gave programs and demonstrations to visitors on Saturday and Sunday to commemorate General Eisenhowerâs role as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during World War II. Living history groups representing the Allies included American, British, Canadian, Polish and Soviet military units. Some regular German military units were represented, so visitors learned about the Alliesâ adversaries as well.
World War II veterans were featured guest speakers as they talked about their personal experiences in the war. Their experiences landing on the beaches of Normandy, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, flying a P-47 Thunderbolt, or being a prisoner of war brought an element of realism to the event. Some autographed books they had written.
A German Enigma machine was featured in an exhibit and demonstration by the National Security Agencyâs National Cryptologic Museum. The capture of an Enigma machine allowed the Allies to decipher coded messages of German war plans, shortening the war.
Life on the home front was also represented by several living history groups and included an exhibit in a 40-foot trailer which was furnished as a 1940s American home.
A USO style dance at the local Army Reserve Center on Saturday evening featured music by the Gettysburg Big Band. Living historians as well as the public danced to songs popular in the 1940s.
Beautiful weather contributed to the success of the event which attracted one of its largest weekend crowds since it was first held 10 years ago.