“Thank you for your service” is a phrase almost always heard when someone discovers that they’re speaking with a person who is or has been in the military. It’s a sign of respect and recognition that they sacrificed a safe existence for a stint or career in the armed forces.
Having now witnessed several historical reenactments (Revolutionary War and WWII to be exact), I’m thinking that some thanks should be expressed when addressing reenactors as well. While reenactors are not risking life and limb to keep us safe, there is considerable cost and sacrifice involved in sharing their passion with us. Every reenactor that I’ve spoken with has been an expert in the customs and history of their time period. They are happy, even anxious to share their knowledge with observers. Their enthusiasm is palpable.
Reenactors enrich our lives. They bring the past to the present to help us all understand what occurred in a most dramatic way.
Reenactors don’t receive government subsidies to help support their activities. The purchase of outfits, tools, supplies, munitions, food, and transportation costs are all personally funded. The WWII reenactors that I spoke with today spent the last two nights sleeping on the ground in tents that were replicas of what would have been used back then. Temperatures dropped into the 40s overnight, and this afternoon there was a steady rain.
For the sacrifices that they make, I think saying, “Thank you for sharing your passion” is most appropriate.