Civil War Re-enactment: Reliving Past Lives?

I'm spending a little vacation time in Gettysburg, PA viewing all the historic sites and seeping myself in the Civil War memorabilia.  I'll also be doing a book talk and signing while there on Saturday July 30.   It brings a salient point forward.  What's up with those folk that spend so much time and money doing Civil War re-enactments?  Well, of course from my perspective, they're probably re-creating a past life experience.  When we face violent and sudden death, especially death that cuts us down in our youth before we've been able to manifest our life's purpose, we typically carry forward the trauma as unfinished business.  A hallmark of trauma recovery is telling your story-- sometimes over and over.  That's one way to process what happened.  Re-enacting, even better!  On top of that, pre-war way of life may have been one that the individuals of the time really loved.  Hard to let it go.  And a great glimpse of history for the rest of us!

Jess Riffle