SANTA CLARITA, Calif - From Abraham Lincoln and Civil War soldiers to 1860-era cannons and rifles, Placerita Junior High students got a lesson they will never forget Friday as Civil War reenactments were presented in every class throughout the school day.
Actors and historians in costume playing Civil War veterans told stories in character of what went on during the war. One demonstration showed how the rifles had to be muzzle-loaded with gun powder and ammunition for each firing. Another demonstration showed students the rudimentary artifacts used by soldiers. And of course there was Abraham Lincoln, telling his life story and how he prepared himself to become the 16th President of the United States and be a prime figure of American History.
"They used to only be able to see it once a day," said Jan Hayes-Rennels, principal of Placerita Junior High. "But now we brought in different reenactors and presentations for a variety of different sides of the Civil War and life in the era from both the union and confederate perspectives, and also the family life in the era."
In all there were seven different presentations that also included women in Civil War days, baking "Johnnycakes" and dancing the Virginia Wheel. But the most memorable part of the day's presentations was the cannon and rifle fire. At the end of every period, first the cannon and then two infantry men would fire their muzzle-loaded rifles to the thrill of the students.
"That was awesome." "I can't believe how loud that was." "I felt that in my chest." Those were just a few of the comments students made.
"I love how big it is this year and how much support we've received from the students and staff," Hayes-Rennels said. "Our history teachers spent hours and hours and hours to make this happen. I love the artifacts the kids get to see first-hand, up close and personal."