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Every year the Battle of Germantown, October 4, 1777, is reenacted (on the closest convenient Saturday) in Philadelphia. Speeches made, movements described, muskets and a random cannon fired, and when the choking smoke clears, grilled sausages and donuts, with beer or lemonade. The Cliveden estate hosts Revolutionary soldiers and t-shirted tourists, lounging on the grass under the trees, like a time portal has been left open and things are leaking.

In recent years, there has been a move to reconsider how accurate to make this, given that there are actual guns and real shootings in Philadelphia, and some of the neighbors have started to find this a bit traumatizing. Or perhaps they always did, but they were tired of being dismissed as party poopers.

When and how Americans began the practice of battle reenactment is unclear; it pre-dates renaissance fairs, which might have actually been inspired by a cross between reenactments, nomadic Grateful Dead tour followers, and hobbits, but that's another story.

At the time Chaplin made "The Great Dictator" the full extent of the Nazi horror was years away from public knowledge, and Chaplin said later that, had he known, he would not have made the film. But it stands as a contemplation on dictators, not just the little weasel who stole the mustache look. And the speech at the end, the innocent barber disguised as the Great Dictator, pleading for peace, love, and understanding, is a timeless speech, perhaps as memorable as anything in Henry V, moreso because we have the hindsight to understand the deep horror that he was unintentionally, but poignantly, revealing to his audience. He still does, for those who will listen.