From the 3/26/98 Montgomery Journal (Maryland). The point of this little article is that one should wait at least 100 years before commemorating something clad in "soldier garb." This will give the uniform and equipment time to appear quaint and less alarming. - Jonah

Commemoration Gone Awry

Vets' trek stirs commotion

FREDERICK, MD - State troopers temporarily shut down U.S. 15 to investigate two men walking along the road dressed in camouflage and carrying what appeared to be automatic rifles and hand grenades. They determined that the weapons were fake and the men, both Vietnam veterans, had permission from State Police and highway officials to walk the 80 miles from Gettysburg, Pa., to Washington in soldier garb, Sgt. Philip Andrews said Tuesday. He said drivers alarmed by the sight had called police. The men, Robert Witter of Sarasota, Fla., and Nick Spencer of Chicago were surprised by the commotion. ``We thought we'd notified everyone of our intentions, but apparently, not everyone got the message,'' Spencer said. He said they expect to reach the Vietnam Memorial in Washington on Sunday, the 25th anniversary of the official withdrawal of American ground forces from Vietnam.

Gentle Reader: Something very much like this happened during the Federal march to "Burnside's Bridge" at the 125th anniversary battle of Antietam back in September, 1987. We were minding our own business, manfully tromping along Maryland Route 40 when some state troopers arrived and pulled us over to investigate the situation. I suppose it came as a surprise to the event organizers, who, like Mr. Spencer above, "...thought we'd notified everyone of our intentions." The main thing I remember of the incident was not the battle itself, which one frenzied Federal called "Nirvana!" and "It was like seeing God!", but a bus full of guys hooting at Mal Stylo's good-looking sister upon arrival back at camp. (Back in those unenlighted days males used to express their admiration in this fashion.) - Jonah