baseball-d1 flag

Sarah Higgins | | June 14, 2014

Bicentennial baseball celebration

omaha-reenactors.jpg Reenactors from Fort Atkinson honored the 237th birthday of the American flag Saturday in Omaha.

OMAHA, Neb. -- If any part of the first day of the College World Series is expected to have ceremonial flair, it would be the first game of the day. But here comes the curveball -- the second game of this year’s CWS, a battle between Louisville and Vanderbilt, held the most pre-game pomp and circumstance.

After Texas fell to UC Irvine 3-1 in the opener Saturday, the burnt orange and blue in the stands was replaced by gold and red and the stadium again began to buzz.

Before the players took to the field, before the color guard marched out, before the national anthem was sung, historical reenactors from Omaha’s Fort Atkinson stepped onto the field to honor the 237th birthday of the American flag.

Top Performers: Day 8
Breeze: Trio stars in Vanderbilt's 10-inning thriller Photos
Kroll: Garrido sums up UT loss: ‘It’s a cruel game’
Breeze: Pitching fuels UVa.'s run to CWS Finals Photos
Kroll: Ole Miss' well runs dry in loss to Virginia
Top Performers: Day 7
Cross: Texas takes advantage of Vandy mistakes
Kroll: Hinojosa remains talk of town Photos
Top Five Plays through first 10 games
Top Performers: Day 6
Cross: Bianco's boys have perfected elimination game
Kroll: Ole Miss advances behind Allen Photos
Top Performers: Day 5
Kroll: Hinojosa's homer leads Longhorns Photos
Cross: Hollingsworth tosses gem in second start of season
UC Irvine's Morales finds inspiration in his sister
Top Performers: Day 4
Kroll: Cavs find time for it all in win Photos
Cross: Virginia shows off pitching depth in 15 innings
Cross: Ole Miss makes most of chances Photos
Kroll: Texas Tech beaten at own game as CWS run ends
Ole Miss goes to the zoo Meet the Bortles brothers
Top Performers: Day 3
Kroll: Vandy hits magic number for CWS win Photos
Cross: Vanderbilt's Bueler answers the call in relief
Kroll: Texas makes the plays Louisville can't Photos
Cross: How bullpens will help decide the CWS
Corey Ray & Ro Coleman: Chicago's Finest
Top Performers: Day 2
Kroll: Kirby, Papi lead Virginia to victory Photos
Kroll: Morrison makes his pitch on CWS stage Photos
Higgins: Ole Miss fans flock to Omaha
Hill: TD Ameritrade Park the stage -- and a star
Higgins: Texas enjoys off day at team barbeque
Hill: Plenty of dads spending Father's Day at the CWS
Vanderbilt's antics in the outfield
Top Performers: Day 1
Kroll: Vandy pushes right buttons in opening win Photos
Hill: Louisville fans thrilled to be back in Omaha
Higgins: Stirring pre-game ceremony marks Flag Day
Kroll: UC Irvine debunks myth in Game 1 win Photos
Hill: Despite team's fortunes, LSU fans show up in Omaha
CWS grounds crew is Omaha's unsung home team
Freshman, senior share thoughts on opening ceremony
Kroll: Five questions to get to know players and coaches
Higgins: Quizzing the coaches on CWS history
Hill: Players and coaches discuss favorite sports movies
Photo Essay: CWS contenders take their cuts
Photo Essay: Talented players dot CWS landscape
Team Capsules | Opening Round Matchups | Draft Picks
Highlights | Brackets: Interactive Print
Volunteers walked out and unfurled a replica of the 15-star, 15-stripe flag that flew over Fort McHenry -- the place Francis Scott Key penned the poem that would become the national anthem – as The Star-Spangled Banner was sung.

“This is the largest venue we’ve ever been in,” Omaha native Tom Wood, who portrays Col. Henry Leavenworth, said.

“We only got word a week ago we’d be here. You get all kinds of reactions walking here in costume. I don’t know how they knew, but they knew we’d have something to do with the flag. The fans salute us and wish us luck. They’re great in Omaha.”

Wood and his fellow reenactors portray the 1819-27 period of the fort’s history with uniforms modeled after the War of 1812. Fort Atkinson -- the first United States fort west of the Mississippi -- was originally built on the site of Lewis and Clark’s meeting with the Otoe-Missouri tribe and is now home to a Nebraska state park.

“We got to stand out there with a flag that stood over Fort McHenry on Flag Day and it’s also the birthday of the U.S. Army. I’ve been doing this for years and you still don’t get used to it,” he said.

Wood, though, is no stranger to the College World Series. “I grew up a few blocks from Rosenblatt [Stadium, the site of the College World Series from 1950-2010],” Wood said. “Up there, you’re just immersed in it. You can’t escape it.”

As many times as Wood has experienced the fever surrounding college baseball’s marquee event, Saturday was his first time actually taking in a game.

“The CWS crowds are great. It’s so different to be down [at TD Ameritrade Park] than at Rosenblatt,” he said. “Living three blocks from there, you always looked forward to the excitement.”

From History Channel specials to roles in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to now the College World Series, Wood and the other Fort Atkinson reenactors paid tribute to America’s past before America’s pastime got under way.

“It’s a real honor. I lost my son in Afghanistan, so anything I can do to help honor the guys in uniform,” Wood said. “It being Flag Day, well, that’s just a huge plus.”

Division I
Baseball Championship
June 16 - 26, 2023
Charles Schwab Field Omaha | Omaha, NE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from and our partners