Frey Cliff de Beaumanoir|
Born a stone's throw from one of the major religious centers of Medieval Europe, not to mention one of the largest Templar Preceptories in Germany, you could say I had castles and knights in my blood. I was raised up playing with knight toys and playing medieval warfare table top games. I purchased a book on knights and chivalry in high school which I still have today .
Reading about medieval warfare (especially the Crusades) and about the Military Orders (St Bernard said they were to be the new Knighthood: the embodiment of Christian chivalry) is a passion of mine, and has helped me put together an extensive library.
When I was old enough, I enlisted in the Army and served 20+ years as an Infantryman, where I thought I needed to be, so as to closely resemble the knights of old. I know they say mounted knights are today's armor and cavalry, but it's the Infantryman who fights the close combat on a daily basis, and we wear armor plates today, much like they did before. I am also the recipient of the Order of St Maurice (Thanks to good Soldiers that I had the pleasure and priviledge to serve with). Each of the major combat branches in the Army has a patron Saint (The Infantry-St Maurice), and the awards are presented to those they believe are most deserving after helping their chosen field (Order) out. Many of these awards are presented in a ceremony much like a knighting, with blade on shoulder of kneeling recipient.
I've always had a great interest in the Crusades and the Military Orders that spawned during their time frame. I still believe the Crusades is a much misunderstood period in today's Western history lessons. I carried the Beausant (Templar Banner) into the Outremer in 08 and actually spent time in Salah ad Din province.
After retiring I finally had time to indulge my hobby, and go out and purchase items to help lend a visual aspect to my addiction. With medieval accoutrements and a sense of purpose, I strove off to talk to people about my passion, and ended up doing lessons for Boy Scouts, Schools (where my daughters attend), and a church.
With presentation responsibility comes the need to set the example for the children. They look up to knights, as they've heard the stories when they were growing up. Too many youth today, lack valid role models. I try to find any reason I can to put armor on and get their attention, because with their attention comes the opportunity to change their future courses of action.
I currently work with a growing number of folks who are putting together a Crusades representation group that attends faires and renaissance festivals. Many young folks have attached themselves to this effort. With this interest, they've found a place to devote their time and open a book or two.
In my opinion this is a win.
I am also an avid Medieval Total War II game player, and have just added the Reconquista mod to my game to cover the Western Crusade. I also play Mount & Blade War Band.