PHILADELPHIA When John Christinzio was a kid, he spent a month in school learning about World War II. Today, he said, it is just a "blip" on the school calendar, five days at most.
That's one of the reasons the 52-year-old architect from South Philadelphia brought his fifth-grade son to Fort Mifflin on Saturday, the 72d anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Fort Mifflin event not only marked this nation's entrance into the war, but it also hosted the reenactment of one of the more obscure battles of World War II, the Battle for Schmidt in Germany's Hurtgen Forest in November 1944.
Joining about 75 others to watch the reenactment, Christinzio said the war was losing its significance for Americans, especially as WWII veterans die.
"We'll have another 10 years of [living] veterans, and then it goes out of memory and into history," he said.
His friend Allan Moore added: "My son is in the sixth grade and most of what he knows about World War II is Call of Duty [the video game]."
To commemorate Pearl Harbor, the 78th Infantry Division World War II Living History Association raised a 48-star American flag, placed a wreath, and held a moment of silence at the fort, which dates back to the Revolutionary War. Some 2,400 sailors, Marines, and soldiers were killed during the attack at the Hawaiian naval base.
Dozens of reenactors then simulated the Battle for Schmidt, crouching behind buildings and firing off blanks from World War II-era rifles and machine guns.
Fought in harsh winter conditions in a densely forested area, the Americans captured Schmidt to secure supply routes.
The Germans, however, would reclaim the town days later.
And the Americans wouldn't permanently seize control of Schmidt until February 1945.
"We want to keep the history alive," said reenactor Jim Prisco, 44, a firefighter who lives in Cinnaminson. "Our World War II vets are dying 1,000 a day. A lot of the young people just don't know that much about it."