Retiree helps preserve local history
By Mark Wyatt, 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
/ Published April 05, 2019
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – A longtime employee here has been volunteering with the Minute Man National Historical Park for more than 12 years as a colonial re-enactor.
Retired Col. Nick Zallas, the installation’s antiterrorism program manager, will once again have a role in this month’s Patriots’ Day festivities.
“I will be manning the rope line that designates the area the ‘British Regulars’ and ‘Colonials’ conduct their battle scenes on April 13 at the national park and on the Lexington Green on Patriots’ Day,” he said. “Our specific responsibility is to ensure all visitors remain outside the enactment battle area, which we do for crowd safety because of the live musket firing.”
Zallas belongs to the Guild of Historic Interpreters, a group of “18th and 19th century history interpreters with appropriate talents and aspirations to support the mission, goals and themes of Minute Man NHP,” according to the organization’s website.
Other roles he has had during his volunteering tenure with the park include colonial storyteller, clerk of magistrate court and colonial tavern patron during the “After the Battle Road” event.
“I get the most satisfaction as a re-enactor volunteer by educating visitors, both U.S. and foreign, about what took place in New England during this critical time in our nation’s history,” he said.
For the past nine years, Zallas has also served as director of the Boston Massacre re-enactment event in Boston. He has also participated in the Boston Tea Party re-enactment.
He has always been fascinated with local history.
“Participating in these programs allows me to increase my knowledge about the Revolutionary War and what events in New England contributed to the formation of the United States,” Zallas said.
Zallas also re-enacts colonial-era stories at two of Minute Man National Historical Park’s Halloween events in October.
“It’s always a thrill to see visitors watching and listening to these New England stories,” he said.
Zallas has been at Hanscom since 1982. He retired from the Air Force Reserves in 2009 as a colonel after more than 40 years of military service.
“More than half of my military career has been associated with some aspect of security,” he said.
He served three years with the U.S. Army Military Police and 16 years as an Air Force Security Police member.
In his role as antiterrorism officer, he is responsible for implementation, oversight and control of all antiterrorism and force protection matters for Hanscom AFB.
“The skills I learned during my military career have helped in my role with the National Park Service,” Zallas said.
He said he routinely volunteers with his wife, Maria, and his daughter, Dr. Alexis Zallas.
For further information about local Patriots’ Day events, visit the Minute Man National Historical Park website at https://www.nps.gov/mima/, view the Battle Road website at www.battleroad.org or go to the Lexington History website at http://www.lexingtonhistory.org/patriotsday.html.