From western forts to Victorian mansions and pivotal battlegrounds, the Texas Historical Commission's 20 state historic sites exemplify a breadth of Texas history. Come explore the real stories at the real places.

Friday, November 30, 2012

President Eisenhower’s Victorious Birthday Bash

By Carole Stanton, Eisenhower Birthplace Interim Site Manager, and Johnny Pairsh, Eisenhower Birthplace Maintenance Specialist

This year, Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site celebrated Dwight D. Eisenhower’s birthday (October 14, 1890) in style, with a World War II military reenactment event befitting the president-general. Reenactors representing both German and American soldiers took part in the action. Here’s how it went down:

On the afternoon of October 12, a German military troop “invaded” the site grounds and set up camp north of the crossroads of two streets that dissect the site. The Germans arrived with standard gear and equipment including three BMW motorcycles with sidecars. Later that day, the members of the U.S. 82nd Airborne arrived and set up camp south of the crossroads. The Americans were equipped with a jeep, military transport trucks, and a half-track military vehicle (a vehicle with an endless chain-track drive system and wheels in the front).

Reenactors at camp
Soldier reenactors
Motorcycle with sidecar
A view to a kill

On his way to a top-secret military briefing the next morning, General Eisenhower arrived and spoke with the troops. That afternoon, the battle of the crossroads began. The Americans attacked with superior numbers and firepower, eventually defeating the enemy troops. The Germans suffered several casualties and many soldiers were wounded before they finally surrendered. Only one American soldier was wounded in the battle that secured the strategic crossroads for Allied troops.

Doing battle
The battle rages
Still going...
The German and American reenactment camps were open to visitors all day, and more than 200 people enjoyed experiencing first-hand what the lives of German and American soldiers in the field were like during World War II. Following the battle, reenactors from both camps held weapons demonstrations for visitors. Tours throughout the day of Eisenhower’s first home allowed visitors to fully experience the site, enjoy cake, and sing Happy Birthday to the president-general.

A man and his statue
Reenactors gather at Eisenhower's statue
It's really all about the cake

Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site is located in Denison, approximately 75 miles north of Dallas. The site is part of the Texas Lakes Trail Region.

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