View single post by Johan Steele
 Posted: Mon Apr 9th, 2007 03:17 pm
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Johan Steele
Life NRA,SUVCW # 48,Legion 352

Joined: Sat Dec 2nd, 2006
Location: South Of The North 40, Minnesota USA
Posts: 1065

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What was that first moment that led to an interest in the Civil War?  I have to look hard to remember.  I remember reading a book on the Gettysburg Address as a youth but I don’t really remember being all that interested.  At the time I think I was more intrigued with Star Wars and World War Two.  I remember well admiring; actually I think it was more awe and hero worship  of the Legion members who had served.  They were men who dropped their lives for four years to go off to foreign lands far from home to battle an evil the likes fiction has a hard time inventing.

So where did my fascination with the Civil War begin?  I don’t think it was a s youth, but in college my fascination was still with World War Two and the Mongol Conquests of Asia.  My father asked me to see if I could find some information on family members who had served.  I was very little help.  I needed an American history class for my major and the chair of the department was offering a 2 credit winter coarse on the Civil War.  Professor Lybarger was a man who gave simple but poignant lectures with only one or two text books and a lot of suggested readings.  The text was the very readable Battle Cry of Freedom and the Ken Burns Video series.  We were given several options for our final, one was to pick a very specific portion of the war and research it or to pick a mistake or error in Battle Cry of Freedom or the Ken Burns Series.  Others chose specific bits of the Ken Burns series and picked it apart.    I chose the firearms of the era and learned a lot from William Edwards, Civil War Guns. That class and that book started a passion in me but it was a slow starting seed.

Years later while stationed in South Carolina I developed a taste for Maurices BBQ and through a strange happenstance found a young lady working at the South Carolina Historical Society.  She introduced me to some microfiche of period newspapers and letters.  I enjoyed studying the words of men who had been there.  Those letters were written by men not at all unlike me or those veterans of World War Two.  They were my age with dreams and hopes like mine.  It was a slow growing interest that turned into a passion.  Now through books and Living History my passion has grown almost to an obsession.  The more I learn the more I want to know about those men.  Luckily my passion has grown to encompass my entire family.

I have gained an understanding of the day to day life; day to day trials and tribulations that still haunt the average soldier.  All in all I have garnered an understanding of our history; a knowledge that the more things change the more they have stayed the same.

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