Attempt to ban nighttime cannon fire fizzles out

Attempt to ban nighttime cannon fire fizzles out

LINCOLN - A proposed ordinance that would have prohibited Civil War re-enactment cannon fire after dark was shot down last month, when Town Councilors voted in favor of preserving historical accuracy for future generations.

The proposed language came after a cannon was fired at night during this summer's re-enactment held at Chase Farm and Hearthside House, an event held in Lincoln once every other year.

Only Councilors John Flynn, the author of the ordinance, and James Jahnz were in favor of keeping cannon fire limited to daytime hours.

At the Ordinance Committee meeting the night before, Flynn said he received at least four complaints after the cannon blast was heard after 8 p.m., and people with pets and young children were not prepared, as they would be in a thunderstorm, for example.

Flynn, who said he even felt his own house shake, proposed limiting such a boom to between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

But Council President Keith Macksoud and Councilors Arthur Russo and Kenneth Pichette maintained that seeing the cannon sparks against the black of night was part of experiencing the re-enactment.

The event was also not frequent enough, Pichette said, to warrant passing such a restriction.

"If it was every weekend, I'd say yes, but it's once every two years," he said.

Russo said he was undecided until just an hour before the council meeting, when he was helping his daughter study for a test about the Civil War.

To help her understand the material better, he said he played a video clip of a re-enactment on his iPad so she could hear the battle.

"It will probably resonate more with her on that test tomorrow," Russo said.

Macksoud said that in a time when students can see everything on an iPad, authentic re-enactments are even more important.

"There's something to be said to feel the impact and vibrations of cannon fire," he said. "It's a sight, it's a sound. It's a feeling that has to be done when it's dark. It's part of a very strong history. This is part of history."

Macksoud continued, saying he is against sterilizing that experience.

The night before, at the Ordinance Committee meeting, Macksoud said not allowing cannon fire during the night was akin to setting off fireworks during the day.

"It takes away from the experience," he said.