Reid Capizzi, pictured, infant son of Mike and Laura Suess-Capizzi of Lewiston, has been selected as the baby who will be part of the dramatic re-enactment that will take place during the unveiling of the Tuscarora Heroes Monument on Dec. 19. The re-enactment will depict the burning of Lewiston by the British in 1813, when Lewiston citizens ran for their lives down Center Street to escape.
The monument will feature three, larger-than-life bronze sculptures, one of which will be a woman carrying her baby as she tries to escape the attackers. The other two sculptures will depict Tuscarora natives saving their lives.
"We are proud that Reid will have his spot in history, and it's something that he will be talking to his grandchildren about," Mike Capizzi said.
Volunteer Alexis Machelor, who has won prizes for her acting in previous "Flames Through Lewiston" events, will carry Reid, who will be 10 months old on Dec. 19. Machelor will be wearing period clothes as she is saved by the Tuscaroras, and Reid will be wrapped in a blanket.
"Needless to say, we're going to be careful and will take every measure to make sure he is safe and sound," said volunteer director Lee Simonson. "If the road is icy or the weather presents a risk, we just go to plan B, and Alexis can carry a doll. Meantime, the baby in the monument is crying, so if Reid wants to cry, too, that's fine by us. It will make it that much more realistic. Mom and dad will only be a few feet away."
Machelor and Reid will only be on the street a couple of minutes. At the moment they encounter their Tuscarora rescuers on the street, directly in front of the monument, spotlights will turn on and the sculptures will be unveiled as dramatic music floods the street and audience.
An estimated 3,000 people will attend the high-profile event, which will be the largest War of 1812 bicentennial monument project in the U.S. Volunteers from the Historical Association of Lewiston have been organizing, planning and fundraising for the construction of the monument for the past four years to commemorate the 1813 British attack on Lewiston and the brave Tuscarora defense of Lewiston.
The unveiling will take place regardless of the weather, and will start at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 19 at the corner of Portage Road and Center Street where the monument will be located.
People of all ages are invited to participate as volunteer re-enactors running down the street screaming and crying. Prizes will be awarded for the best portrayals, and there will also be a photographic contest for the best photos and videos that capture the once-in-a-lifetime unveiling. Those interested in volunteering can contact the Lewiston Museum at 716-754-4214.