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updated: 6/8/2014 6:29 PM

Trolley museum highlights life during wartime

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  • Phil Lauricella of from Elburn talks about the responsibilities of medics in war Sunday at the Fox River Trolley Museum's "Rails To Victory" World War II Living History Re-enactment in South Elgin. He was playing the part of a medic in the 10th Infantry Division.

       Phil Lauricella of from Elburn talks about the responsibilities of medics in war Sunday at the Fox River Trolley Museum's "Rails To Victory" World War II Living History Re-enactment in South Elgin. He was playing the part of a medic in the 10th Infantry Division.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Surrounded by historical trains and trolleys, people listen to a presentation Sunday at the Fox River Trolley Museum's "Rails To Victory" World War II Living History Re-enactment in South Elgin.

       Surrounded by historical trains and trolleys, people listen to a presentation Sunday at the Fox River Trolley Museum's "Rails To Victory" World War II Living History Re-enactment in South Elgin.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

Those expecting a quick stop at Phil Lauricella's tent Sunday didn't get it.

The knowledgeable Elburn history re-enactor was portraying a medic from the U.S. Army 10th Infantry Mountain Division during the Fox River Trolley Museum's "Rails to Victory" event in South Elgin.

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The event marked the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of World War II. Crowds that gathered around Lauricella's site leading into the trolley museum heard a steady stream of facts and stories, supported by many historical artifacts.

"I've been a historian since the age of five," said Lauricella, who also portrays soldiers in Civil War and World War I re-enactments, and even performs as Thomas Jefferson on occasion. He is now studying to work as a Viking re-enactor.

Crowds stood quietly, some taking pictures, as he narrated the rough experience of being a soldier in the mountains of Italy. Jaws dropped silently when he explained the duties of a medic in the unit.

"There is a difference between a doctor and a medic," he said. " A doctor saves your life. A medic makes you feel comfortable while you die."

His was one of about a dozen "camps" set up in a shaded lot next to the rail museum. Some had jeeps and weapons, while others displayed living and working conditions of World War II soldiers. Visitors also saw mock battles and could ride special trains like those used during the war.

Early in the day there was a baseball game on a nearby diamond that featured a re-enactment of the Rockford Peaches, the all-woman team made famous in the 1992 movie "A League of Their Own."

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