2017 is the year for possibilities.
It’s sometimes hard to see the future possibilities at a park that is so grounded in the past. Nevertheless, we have a superb group of volunteers, staff, and reenactors who have high hopes for teaching future generations about the past.
Cue January 21.
Soldiers marched and cannons knocked my socks off. Seriously, they were so loud at our annual Battlefield Commemoration on January 21, 2017 that the ground seemed to shake, and I could taste the fear that cannons must have instilled 200 years ago. The River Raisin National Battlefield Park’s (RRNBP) history is not a pleasant one. Being the only National Battlefield Park that discusses part of the War of 1812 doesn’t change the fact that the battles on January 18 and 22 were a huge defeat to the Americans (which is why no one has seemed to hear of our park). The winners write history? That saying is sure true here, because we are still uncovering primary documents that explains the happenings here along the River Raisin, and since they’re not very pretty, they must have meant to have been erased from history.
But the story is coming back. Despite this loss, the staff at the RRNBP endeavor to tell the story from all sides. These battles were unique because they included some American, British, French, Native American soldiers, and Kentuckian snipers. A huge array of characters must have numerous backstories, all of which we are still discovering. To make this history come alive to visitors, we put on a reenactment in mid January, whichever Saturday that is the closest to the original battle dates, to tell the story. Pictures below (:
A strange juxtaposition of time periods were are displayed. Reenacting an 1813 battle with telephone lines in the background!
Following the reenactment, a flag and wreath ceremony was delivered, where each company presented a wreath to honor those who died here in battle…
…while modern day veterans raised the flags.
We thank each and every person, whatever their age, for helping us to embrace the rallying cry “Remember the Raisin!”