SURRATT: Some commentary from the July Fourth weekend

Published 4:00 am Friday, July 7, 2023

A few words on the July Fourth weekend.

At the top of the list, surprise, surprise, is the weather. It’s an understatement to say it was hot; very hot. And because of that, I’m giving some major props to the Confederate and Union reenactors who participated in the programs at the Old Court House Museum and the Vicksburg National Military Park.

Because those guys strive for authenticity, they wear period uniforms made of wool like the soldiers they portray and they camped overnight on the grounds in tents with no fans or portable air conditioning to keep them cool. You have to take your hats off to these guys who were willing to wear long sleeve cotton shirts and wool jackets in weather with triple-digit heat indexes to teach people history.

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And you’ve got to give some love to the visitors to the Old Court House and Military Park exhibits who braved the heat to watch and learn history. My time was spent at the park talking with the rangers and the reenactors from the 45th Illinois Infantry, who drew crowds even though the plans to demonstrate camp life during the siege were scrapped because of the heat.

People crowded around the unit’s camp and watched a live fire demonstration with muskets. The Texas Camel Corps also drew people.

Since cloning is still in its infancy, I was unable to attend the Old Court House program. I did, however, drive by the area and noted a large number of cars; judging from the comments of my coworker who covered it, the event was extremely well-attended.

And the fireworks as usual drew a crowd.

Attendance at all events here in Vicksburg is a tribute not only to the organizations that set them up but to the residents who take the time to ignore the heat and visit the events to learn a little history or just do something different.

I guess you could say we’ve reached the unofficial midpoint of summer, although as anyone in the South will tell you, summer lasts through October down here and folks keep some of their summer clothes out for those warm spells between November and late March.

Of course, we have one season that lasts until the end of November — hurricane season — and we haven’t even reached the peak of that season.

Whether we went out, stayed home and cooked or just played lazy, this was a pretty good Fourth of July. It’s time to get ready for football and Labor Day.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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