WWII History Alive in Rockford, Illinios

Polish Mission Staff Sups With Soldiers at Premier Living History Event

Wow!On Sunday, September 26th, Polish Mission staff had the exciting opportunity to visit a HUGE WWII reenactment in Rockford Illinois!Seeing the over one thousand (!) reenactors, you can understand why the event organizers claimed the distinction of the biggest WWII reenactment in the country. Check the photos!

Midway Village is usually a quiet living history museum, nestled amidst peaceful woods and nice open areas that contrast with downtown Rockford’s big businesses.On a normal day you might expect to watch a blacksmith make a hinge or door handle, or maybe hear about the Victorian Hotel or General Store along the lovely reconstructed old village, similar the our local gem, Greenfield Village.But this was no normal day.The nice trails through the woods became tank paths, the buildings were converted into makeshift barracks, and every corner of the village bristled with allied and axis reenactors and equipment.Horses of the Wehrmacht cavalry filled the streets of the village while the Sherman tank roared in the nearby open field to re-create an assault against German infantry and artillery. And talk about loud—with over a dozen antique armored vehicles and artillery pieces booming away with a regular chorus of small arms fire, your ringing ears and accompanying startle give an intense and exciting experience!

The community of reenactors was very diverse.As you made your way through the woods, you found soldiers from every theater of WWII, and from nearly every nation.British, Japanese, Italian, Soviet, Polish, German, and American soldier-reenactors were everywhere, all of them excited to share their knowledge with the public.After the day was done and the village was closed, Saturday saw a fast night of swing dancing in Midway Village’s new hall.Too fun!

Living history is one of the best tools to inspire people to learn more about the past, and the Polish Mission supports those organizations that raise awareness about the past and spark interest in the study of history. If you’re in Rockford around this time next year, make sure to look up Midway Village and make their WWII reenactment a stop on your trip.