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Allies fend off Axis in Watertown
Nov 15, 2006 12:00 am
The streets of Watertown were transformed into a WWII firefight Saturday as part of the city's Veterans Day activities. Re-enactments of battles between Allied and Axis forces took place on the square to the enjoyment of onlookers.
The re-enactments have been a part of the celebration for the past four years and are popular among visitors to the city. There were two separate re-enactments Saturday, each with its own unique touches.
"We are by no means trying to glorify war," Watertown Chamber of Commerce President and re-enactor Jeff Tunks said. "We are simply trying to keep the memory of our veterans alive."
Both of the battles drew a sizable group of spectators.
"The one we had this morning with the train was full," Tunks said.
Coinciding with the events of the day was the arrival of a Murder Mystery Excursion train Saturday morning which dropped its passengers right in the middle of a simulated German encampment. The guests were free to explore the tents and other things within the campsites before making their way to the square to witness the battle.
"We've had a pretty good crowd around today," Tunks noted.
The train brought so many passengers to the event that the square was nearly filled with spectators for the first battle at 11 a.m. Tunks added their were almost too many people with all of the equipment that is used to simulate the explosions.
"Its all about safety," re-enactor Joe Fischer said.
Fischer was the man in charge of creating the special effects that allowed for convincing yet safe explosions throughout the battles.
"The first (re-enactment) is for the crowd," he added. "The second one is for us."
The enthusiasts who are involved in the shows hail from all around the region. The group for Saturday's event included individuals from Memphis, Chattanooga, Lexington and Louisville, Ky. and Huntsville, Ala.
"We've got people from everywhere," Tunks said.
New to the festivities this year was the Military Vehicle Preservation Association. They brought a new group of vehicles to this year's show that were not included previously.
"We haven't had that before," Tunks said. "It was a nice addition."
The evening's celebration concluded with a USO dance featuring swing music.
Staff Writer Kimberly Jordan can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 16 or by email at email@example.com.