War reenactor defends actions that caused controversy at River o - WNEM TV 5

War reenactor defends actions that caused controversy at River of Time

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BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) -

Local reenactors came to the defense of their comrades after controversy thrust them into the national spotlight over the use of Nazi flags during a local historical event.

It happened over the weekend at the River of Time in Bay City.

The event is a living history encampment where visitors step back in time and see the history of North America, Michigan and Bay County.

Some visitors were outraged at the sight of the German soldier reenactors posing for pictures with a Nazi flag and flying the enigma of the German SS. Others said Nazis are a part of history at the reenactors belong at the event.

"It's just a shame to see that we can't even teach history without sparking a controversy," said Bailey Richardson, war reenactor.

Richardson plays a house servant during the Civil War. She is upset the picture has garnered so much attention.

The picture caused quite the controversy, but Richardson sees the photo differently.

"These people in no way glorify Nazism. Just as I as a Civil War reenactor don't glorify slavery. They are just trying to teach people what has happened in the past and terrible mistakes that America has made and we should never repeat again," Richardson said.

River of Time committee members like Nicole Tuzas said the group made a mistake. Tuzas said the reenactors were not supposed to display the flag.

"The policy was definitely don't have anything with that kind of symbol out for spectators to see. With everything that's going on nowadays, protesting and everything, they don't want anyone to feel threatened or upset by it," Tuzas said.

Richardson said she knows three of the people in the photo and insists they did nothing wrong by displaying the flag.

"The photograph was taken Sunday after the event was closed. Do I think they should've? No. But do I think that the whole rule is absolutely nonsense? OK, you can dress up in SS uniforms. OK, you can reenact German soldiers, but don't use the flag. That doesn't make any sense to me," Richardson said.

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