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Living History Crew brings USS North Carolina to life

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– The Battleship North Carolina held its first Battleship Alive weekend of the year. The Living History Crew makes four appearances throughout the year.

Props, volunteers and trust are three things that make this weekend so important.

Since 1997 about 30 volunteers reenact what life was like on the USS North Carolina. Stephen Hood has been volunteering since the very beginning. He thinks these weekends are full of meaning.

“So the public gets a better understanding and visual experience of what life was for a battleship sailor,” Hood said.

This living history follows an annual reunion held for veterans of the Battleship. Veteran Jim Bowen worked on the battleship for two years back in the early ’40s.

“This thing made a man out of me,” Bowen said. “I was 17 when I came here, and a year later I was paid off, and it changed my whole life.”

Bowen says the reunions were supposed to end last year, but they’re just so good they keep doing them.

“Seven-thousand people, there must be 70 million stories out there,” Bowen said. “I’ve got mine. He’s got his. He’s got his.”

Volunteers here say they feel trusted to turn a black and white photo into living history.

For visitors, this reenactment must be having quite an impact. Battleship visitor Laurie Craycroft says she thinks these tours really put life into perspective.

“It puts me into shock,” she said. “The technology that was around then and the skill it took use it, there was nothing easy about any of this. You couldn’t look it up on Google.”

During each tour, the crew opens up different parts of the ship and show original or reenacted props. Each crew member represents a different part of the ship and tells its story.

There will be another informal showing for July 4, and then the Living History Crew will be back again in September.


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