People ask me what type of audiences and venues I enjoy most when I am presenting as our 32nd President. I’m afraid my answer to that will, indeed, make me sound like a politician.
I certainly enjoy presenting to retirement communities. These folks are often of an age that they remember (when they were children) living through some of the topics and incidents I discuss. And, they often have very interesting personal anecdotes to add. I even met the daughter of one of FDR’s Secret Service bodyguards. What a thrill!
I love presenting to school children. They are much more interested to learn about our history than I would ever have guessed. And I am constantly impressed with their questions and comments. We have some sharp young people in our schools.
Of course, having the honor of having been invited four times to perform at the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, New York has been incredible. The National Park Service rangers are a great group of people. One even allowed me to sit behind FDR’s actual desk in his small study. That’s where he met with many dignitaries including Winston Churchill when they discussed the Manhattan Project. (There is a picture of me at the desk in the photos section.)
My visits to and presentations to other National Parks have also been very fulfilling. Every American should visit as many NPS parks, forests and historic sites as they possibly can. We have such a rich natural and historic story. And it’s there for all of us to enjoy.
Libraries, civic groups, and private organizations always provide wonderful audiences. They are too numerous to list but a highlight at one was when I was presented with a large framed photograph of FDR that was ACTUALLY signed by Roosevelt, himself. It proudly hangs on the wall in my home.
And then there was the rededication of the Bonneville Damn in Oregon delivering the same speech that FDR had seventy-five years prior. That was unique but was it as unique as the internet commercial for Aviation Gin or the video clips for a woman’s fortieth birthday party in Ohio?
I would certainly be remiss if I did not mention performing for the Museum of American Armor in Long Island, New York. The folks out there have invited the President at least half a dozen times. This wonderful museum of WWII vintage equipment (tanks, jeeps, howitzers, staff cars, troop movers, etc.) is amazing. Just as amazing is their quest to keep our important WWII history alive. My wife and I have become good friends of Superstar Volunteer (and heart and soul of the museum) Gary Lewi and volunteer photographer Nancy Epstein. These fine, fine folks are just a wonderful bonus to a reenacting career.
So, what’s my favorite? Well, there is no one place or one type of audience that is the best or is my favorite. It’s the thrill of hearing: “I felt as though I was really watching and listening to him”, “I really learned a lot” and “You captured him perfectly!” That’s what makes it fun and rewarding. That’s what makes me look forward to my next audience. I hope to see you there.