It has never been my favorite event, as it is a long drive (4+ hours) for me and until the past few years it was little more than the landing, mass and tailgate party. The sermon seemed endless (I recall one time when a gentlemen asked me to shot the Monsignor) and other than posing for photos the ceremony was over in about ninety minutes. Simply not worth the drive. of late, however, -I think largely in preparation for upcoming St. Augstine 450th anniversary - the Fountain of Youth has opened up the ground to reenactors . Giving us an opportunity to to do a weekend of living history, and me the chance to do more than dirty my musket with a couple of blackpowder salutes.
Here's the account of the original landing:
"On Saturday, the 8th, the general landed with many banners spread, to the sound of trumpets and salutes of artillery. As I had gone ashore the evening before, I took a cross and went to meet him, singing the hymn Te Deum laudamus. The general marched up to the cross, followed by all who accompanied him, and there they kneeled and embraced the cross. A large number of Indians watched these proceedings and imitated all they saw done. The same day the general took formal possession of the country in the name of his Majesty, and all the captains took the oath of allegiance to him, as their general and governor of the country. When this ceremony was ended, he offered to do everything in his power for them, especially for Captain Patino..."
HFM's Men of Menendez provided said artillery support from the FOY grounds.
Nice shot of said artillery:
Whilst FLH's newly formed Company of Santiago did the reenactment on the mission side:
I don't know if Davis was singing the Te Deum but flags and banners were flying. We had an Indian but there were plenty of spectators in attendance.
The "casket crawl" mentioned in the title was a one off for this day. Menendez's casket (his bones are interned in Spain) had been in the Mission gift shop and was moved with great ceremony to as the center piece in the new museum on the Mission grounds. I'd been honored with a position as part of the casket detail, and wisely, asked, "how heavy and how far?" and got assigned as a flag bearer instead. At dinner that evening there was much good natured moaning and groaning about lengthened arms and neurological damage. After the pagentry and museum opening I got a chance to spend the rest of the day at FOY and joyfully getting some much need arquebus practice in.
Here are some new stories on the event:
Cannon fire Indian drums and pageantry at Mission
St. Augustine Thanksgiving a bit different
Menendez coffin moved
At times it seemed that the number of credentialed photographers outnumbered the participants, some that I've found on-line thus far:
Mission Nombre de Dios Museum
Landing Reenactment & Mass
Don Pedro Menendez Landing
Men of Menendez Commemorate St. Augustine 445th