There will be two events this weekend in Warren County that will portray vignettes of two crucibles of this nation's history.
One will be in Tidioute and one will be in Warren.
Bear in mind that no single event can fully capture what happened on these shores 150 years ago and around the world 70 years ago. However, they can give us a taste of those times, the personal sacrifices, the human side of vicious times.
The Tidioute Bridge is almost identical to the Ludendorff Bridge spanning the Rhine River in Remagen, Germany, where 69 years ago American troops established a bridgehead on the eastern side of the river.
It was an important event in World War II, because it was the only substantial bridge over the Rhine on the way into the German heartland.
On Saturday, World War II re-enactors will do what they can to recreate the close fighting between U.S. and German troops that occurred on March 7 and 8, 1945. Military historians believe that initial battle and the ensuing protection of the bridge hastened the end of the war in Europe.
Simultaneously, Civil War re-enactors will gather at various venues in Warren to give visitors a sample of the life of soldiers during that defining conflict. There won't be mock battles, but there will be an encampment, an artillery demonstration and a surgeon's tent to give some inkling of the gruesome nature of that war.
We hope those attending either re-enactment- and hopefully, both - will take them in with a sense of history more than entertainment, keeping in mind that war is an ugly, terrible thing, but at times, a necessary thing.
It might be a good time to recall words written 200 years ago by an American watching the British bombardment of a fort protecting Baltimore Harbor.
In the fourth and final stanza of a poem whose first stanza is familiar to all, Francis Scott Key wrote:
"Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"