As wars rage, there’s a natural tendency for combatants on both sides to hate each other. After all, it is their bullets and bayonets that are killing folks in your unit. You’ve lost buddies to them.
However, as the years go by, that hatred fades. Today, it’s not unusual to hear about American and Japanese veterans of World War II reuniting on friendly terms 70 years after that bitter conflict
— with war trophies even being returned in some exceptional cases. This was also true when it came to the American Civil War.
More than 50 years after the war, former adversaries began to reunite as friends. The war’s 75th anniversary reunion, for example, was particularly notable for bringing together almost 2,000 veterans. According to one contemporary media account at the time, the average age of the reunion was 94. That report also noted that a 1913 reunion had been marred by nine deaths among the veterans. The 1938 reunion, billed as the last great reunion for the Civil War vets, also was notable in that an eternal flame was lit to serve as a symbol of peace and unity.
What was also unique was that the Civil War veterans were also treated to an air show. Among the planes featured were the Consolidated PB-2, which saw brief service in World War II as a trainer, the Northrop A-17 Nomad, which also was primarily used as a trainer, and, a future legend, the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.
Luckily for us, this unique reunion was caught on film. Check out this brief clip to see more, including the B-17 flyover.
(Civil War Trust | YouTube)