Culture History 5 Historic Battles You Can Witness in the Present By John Donovan Writer Arizona State University John Donovan is a freelance writer based in Atlanta. He writes on a range of topics including nature, health, history, and pop culture. our editorial process John Donovan Updated June 11, 2019 Reenactors clash in the first part of a large scale re-enactment of the Battle of Waterloo on June 19, 2015. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images Share Twitter Pinterest Email Culture History Travel Sustainable Fashion Art & Media Holidays Community Practically every major battle in every major war has been re-done at some point. The ancient Romans — big warriors, those Romans — upon returning home recreated battles in the amphitheaters for the enjoyment of the people. Before the American Civil War was even over, soldiers were calling do-overs and staging battles for practice — they called them "sham battles" — often in front of curious civilians. These days, battle reenactments have become huge business all over the world, a multimillion dollar industry, according to The New York Times. Every year, tens of thousands of "re-enactors," dressed in period garb and toting period firearms and swords, wage these faux fights in front of thousands of fans as a way to honor long-ago sacrifices and to act as a sort of "living history" exhibition. Here are five notable historic battles that you can still see today — sort of. D-Day Re-enactors 'storm' Gold Beach from a Royal Marine Landing craft during the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings on June 6, 2014. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images When was it? June 6, 1944, in Normandy, France What war? World War II Who fought? Allied troops led by the United States and the United Kingdom versus Nazi Germany Who won? The Allies, despite heavy casualties, established a foothold in Europe that was critical in pushing back the Nazis, eventually leading to their defeat and the end of the war in Europe. And these days ... ? In France, the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy was marked by ceremonies and memorials, parades, tours of the landing zones and reenactment of parachute drops. There's also a stateside version: D-Day Conneaut, which bills itself as the largest annual D-Day reenactment in the U.S. It’s held every year in Conneaut Township Park, in Conneaut, Ohio, along Lake Erie in the northeastern part of the state. Around 1,200 re-enactors from the U.S. and Canada take part in the detailed show, which includes the storming of a 250-yard beach at the park that, it is said, "closely resembles" Omaha Beach. The Battle of Gettysburg Re-enactors line up to 'fight' the Battle of Gettysburg in 2013. S Pakhrin/Flickr When was it? July 1-3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, in southern Pennsylvania What war? The American Civil War Who fought? Union soldiers versus Confederate troops Who won? The Union, in what is considered the bloodiest battle of the war And these days ... ? More than 51,000 American soldiers were either killed, wounded or went missing at Gettysburg in what is still the biggest battle ever fought in North America. The Gettysburg Anniversary Committee organizes the reenactment each year. It takes place on farmland just southwest of the original battlefield and includes field demonstrations, a living history village, civil war merchants and military camps. The Battle of Bunker Hill Commemorative exercises for the anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Boston NHP/Flickr When was it? June 17, 1775, on two hills outside of Boston, Bunker Hill and Breed's Hill What war? The American Revolutionary War Who fought? British colonial forces versus British troops Who won? British troops, though they took heavy casualties, which emboldened the inexperienced colonists throughout the rest of the war And these days ... ? Occasionally, there are reenactments of the famous battle — like the one held commemorating the 240th anniversary in 2015. You can catch the Bunker Hill Day Parade, a tradition since 1786. The Battle of the Alamo Re-enactors fire a cannon in front of the Alamo as tourists watch. NeonLight/Shutterstock When was it? Feb. 23-March 6, 1836, at Alamo Mission in what is now San Antonio, Texas What war? The Texas Revolution Who fought? Mexican troops under Santa Anna versus Texians (English speaking settlers from the Mexican province of Texas) Who won? Santa Anna and the Mexicans killed all the defenders — as many as 257 of them — including legendary fighters Sam Bowie and Davy Crockett And these days ... ? The Alamo is the No. 1 tourist destination in the state. Visitors can take a one-hour tour that retraces the battle. As far as true reenactments go, that's trickier. The Alamo stands now in the middle of Alamo Plaza, steps from San Antonio's famed Riverwalk, and is filled with tourists almost every day. The San Antonio Living History Association conducts some reenactments, complete with armed Mexicans and Texans, around the anniversary of the battle. But you have to use your imagination to envision what it must have been like 200 years ago. The Battle of Waterloo Reenactors stage a skirmish during the commemoration of the Battle of Waterloo. Carl Court /Getty Images When was it? June 18, 1815, near Waterloo in what is now Belgium What war? The Waterloo Campaign during the War of the Seventh Coalition Who fought? The French army, led by Emperor Napoleon, versus the Seventh Coalition, comprised of Austria, the United Kingdom, Prussia, Russia and, eventually, most of the rest of Europe. Who won? The Seventh Coalition, handily, forcing Napoleon into exile for the last time. The Battle of Waterloo was considered crucial in the formation of modern Europe. And these days ... ? The bicentennial of the battle was held in late June of 2015, presented by ASBL Bataille de Waterloo 1815, a non-profit group, and included 5,000 re-enactors, some 300 horses and 100 cannons. It's an economic stalwart in that part of Belgium, where tourists visit the battlefield. "The Battlefield ... soon became a place of remembrance and pilgrimage for men of all of the nations that had torn each other apart on this little corner of ground in Walloon Brabant," says the ASBL in a press release. "It became such an important destination that this is where the tour operators saw their beginnings, bringing visitors to the site by carriage from London, Ostend, Ghent and Brussels."