The passing of another reenactor got me to thinking about our habit of taking on military rank in what is, after all, a hobby with no real military rank. I didn't want to rain on the man's remembrance, and hope to convey my sorrow at his passing and the great loss it will mean, first to his family, and second to his reenacting brethren.
But it does make me queasy when military rank is bestowed on men playing soldier. It isn't helped by the often bloated rank structure of our hobby: "colonels" showing up at events with 25-man "brigades," and captains commanding two sergeants, a corporal and no more than a half-dozen snuffies.
Please don't ever refer to me, living or dead, as anything other than "reenactor." Is it any wonder the rest of the world thinks we're mad?
Any rank I hold, I hold for the purposes of an event. No one obeys me at any other time, and the notion that someone has "rank" in a reenacting unit seems, to me, more than slightly ridiculous.
I apologize in advance if I've offended those who feel they've "earned" their rank serving in what are essentially clubs with a pseudo-military organization (if you feel it's a real military organization, then tell me what happens if someone refuses to obey your orders?). At the end of the day, we're all just reenactors, and no one is above or below me unless I choose to pretend they are -- for the time we're in the field.
Or is your world different from mine?