Tidioute was very much alive on Saturday with between 3,000 and 4,000 people attending the second annual World War II reenactment.
More than 250 reenactors took part in Saturday's event.
The battle began behind the church and continued across Tidioute Creek by way of a foot bridge and continued down King Street and turned left onto Buckingham Street, over the Tidioute Bridge and up the hill towards Route 337.
Photo by Linda Scott
American troops take the bridge forcing the Germans back across
Reenactors came from as far away as Florida and Canada. Grandfathers, fathers, and sons joined together to recreate the battle fought in Remagen, Germany, a small town much like Tidioute that is located on the west bank of the Rhine River. Its layout and size are very similar to Tidioute and the Rhine River is similar in size to the Allegheny River. The terrain features of Remagen look very much like the Allegheny region with rolling mountains, deep valleys and ridges.
The bridge at Remagen was named after a German hero, thus the name, Ludendorff Bridge. It was about 700 feet long, a little longer then the present day bridge in Tidioute which is 551 feet long.
The 9th Armored Division arrived over looking Remagen and the Ludendorff Bridge. Lt. Timmerman lead the column assigned to capture the town. Their orders, "Capture the Bridge."
Shots rang out and several German resident were forced to leave and sent over the Ludendorff bridge followed by the Germans who were in full retreat to the bridge and crossed over it.
To their surprise, the U.S. soldiers arrived and found the bridge still standing. This was the only bridge still remaining intact, all others had been destroyed by either the advancing Allied armies or the retreating German army.
At approximately 3 or 4 p.m. as Lt. Timmerman expected, the Germans on the other side of the river detonated the charges that were in place. The high explosives blew; in Saturday's reenactment pyrotechnics were used. When the smoke cleared the bridge was still intact.
The 9th Armored's Infantry had the task of capturing the bridge led by Lt. Timmerman and Sgt. Drabic, who quickly assaulted and captured the bridge.
Shortly after the capture the 99th, 9th and 78th Infantry divisions crossed over, attacking and protecting the bridge from counter-attacking German forces, trying to recapture the bridge.
Hundreds of G.Is were killed and wounded fighting to protect the bridge.
Harold Wilson, who fought with the 99th, was present at Saturday's reenactment and had a seat under a covering reserved for all veterans. Several W.W. II veterans who live in Tidioute were present and enjoy the reenactment, as did those W.W. II veterans from other communities.
Heenan Trucking provided transportation on a low boy to the gravel pit for a tactical at approximately 9:30 a.m. and prior to this well planned reenactment units drove authentic vehicles over the bridge to place themselves in position near the Tidioute Creek.
All vehicles and uniforms and gear are purchased by each individual reenactor.
Each reenactor also put up a small fee to participate in this reenactment and Cartwright Fireworks of Franklin sponsored the pyrotechnics.
Lt. Nicholas Griffey, a.k.a. Unter Sturm Fuhrer, was part of the 102SS and 9th SS and said he has enjoyed this location chosen for the reenactment and he enjoys sharing the story.
Jeanne Onuska portrays a Slovakian women who worked under the German Red Cross for survival. She is the owner of European Military History Society in Conneaut, Ohio, where there will be a "Big D Day" celebration on Aug. 21.
Onuska told how the women were tortured and the only way of survival at that time was to work underground.
Reenactments events are also held in North Carolina, Virginia and Ohio with most events held in western Pennsylvania.
Local merchants were extremely busy and one new business owner, Lynn Buccardo of Buccardo's Restaurant, stated that Saturday was the busiest day they had since they opened in January.
Members of the 99th Infantry Division, 393rd Regiment, Easy Co. reenactors extended thanks to everyone who made this day possible.
This year the reenactment was bigger, better and more people were involved. Cartwright Fireworks added more pyrotechnics this year to make things look even more realistic than last year.