Letters to the Editor for Feb. 7, 2018

More consideration needed in selecting best re-enactors at Fort Boonesborough

Yesterday, a friend provided me an article published in your publication on Feb. 5, 2018, titled, “Boone is Back,” which covered a recent interpretive event at Fort Boonesborough.

The Kentucky State Parks and Chautauqua Characters Kentucky Humanities provided Mr. Kevin Hardesty to speak in the role of Colonel Daniel Boone.

Our country holds the name of Boone in great and rightful reverence and Fort Boonesborough is hallowed ground for both native Kentuckians and students of history, who understand the sacrifices made there by brave, intrepid settlers in search of freedom and opportunity.

As a historical interpreter the past 17 years, fortune has granted me the chance to meet and befriend direct descendants of a few noteworthy historical figures — and one of those, who I hold in the highest esteem, is Steve Caudill of Winchester. a direct descendant of Daniel Boone.

Mr. Caudill, a retired detective with the Winchester Police Department and a U.S. Army veteran, delivers the most accurate and highly-respected interpretation of his ancestor known to those heavily involved in 18th Century living history.

He has invested thousands of hours in research and thousands of dollars in clothing, gear and accoutrements to provide an accurate portrayal of Col. Boone that is simply unsurpassed.

We in the hobby, in general, believe it is our responsibility to tell the true, untarnished narrative of American history and this often forces us to dispel myths and misinterpretations created by Hollywood’s deceitful and cunning film industry, often times for their own political purposes. We take this very seriously – and the most devout among us frown upon certain “re-enactorisms” that do not hold up to the high standards we believe honor our forefathers.

Which brings me to why I write this letter. I did not attend the event or hear Mr. Hardesty’s presentation, and for all I know it was well-received and entertaining, but the pictures stand as proof the attendees of the event most likely received yet another inaccurate depiction of the great man.

Those of us familiar with Fort Boonesborough State Park and the reenactments held there have begun to notice a decline in the standards and authenticity required at other, highly-respected living history events. It is a topic of much discussion. The picture painted by some participants, in many cases, only perpetuates the fabricated Hollywood fantasy.

We ask ourselves why.

Why is it that the staff of Fort Boonesborough State Park is unwilling to hold its interpreters to a higher standard? Why would they invite someone, an actor, to come in and speak about the life of Col. Boone when they have someone so much better just up the road — an actual descendant — well-versed in the life and legacy of the man? What drives this decision? Funding? Cost? Politics?

The Chautauqua Characters website states they charge $200 per appearance for a non-profit community sponsor and $450 per appearance at a “for profit” community sponsor — with the added benefit of permission to charge admission. The article said Mr. Hardesty, a bearded actor in a theatrical renaissance faire shirt, “performed to a full house.”

Daniel Boone once said, “My footsteps have often been marked with blood.” He lost two sons in the defense of Kentucky settlements and survived the ill-fated Battle of Blue Licks. Don’t we owe it to him to honor his life respectfully and accurately with words from a real Boone scholar — and not an actor working from a script written by a person named Bo List, a theatre director, writer and professor of theatre and English in New York?

Chris Zagst,

18th Century

historical interpreter

Lexington

Humane Society of the US not affiliated with local groups

In the wake of national news that the Humane Society of the United States is going through a major sexual harassment scandal involving top executives, people should know local humane societies are not affiliated with this national group, despite the similar names.

It is easy to confuse local shelters with the national group. For years, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has raised money off the good names of local pet shelters while only giving a paltry 1 percent of their $126 million budget to help local pet shelters.

Instead, the money has gone to finance its executives’ exorbitant salaries and pensions, hire a fleet of lawyers and lobbyists and to stash away more than $50 million in offshore accounts. And now, news reports reveal that money was used to pay off female staffers who were mistreated.

Please support your local shelters. It’s the best way to help needy animals in the community.

Will Coggin,

Managing director

Center for Consumer Freedom in Washington, DC