Meet Bruce Henriksen of Plainfield, Illinois

An interview with a Color Bearer member

I would like future generations to understand the importance of knowing one's heritage. Go out and see and learn what America is all about.

Bruce Henriksen, Color Bearer

Color Bearer Bruce Henriksen
Color Bearer Bruce Henriksen

American Battlefield Trust: What moved you to first give to our organization?

Bruce: During a major directional change in my life I was looking for something that could give me focus and be beneficial for others. I received a solicitation piece from the Civil War Preservation Trust that struck a chord because the goal of the Trust was preserving American history/heritage, education, land preservation, all tangible actions that I could share with others and personally enjoy myself. 

What do you enjoy most about being a Color Bearer?

I have only been a Color Bearer a short time so I have not yet taken part in any of the appreciation events or tours that are available to me. However, in my contacts and communications with the Trust and all of its staff since I became a Color Bearer, I have felt very appreciated for what I do as a Color Bearer and that I am truly helping to accomplish a very worthwhile task. This been true ever since I became a member of the organization. 

What is your favorite battlefield you’ve visited?

I have visited Gettysburg, Antietam, Shiloh, Bull Run, Stones River, Wilson's Creek, Yorktown and battlefields more than once each and could easily say any one of them was my favorite. However, my favorite battlefield is always the last one I visited because it is always the freshest in my mind and continues the itch to see the next one. So, Lone Jack, Missouri is currently my favorite battlefield. It is small but well worth seeing and learning about.  

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I take a few trips every year to see historical sights and it is not possible to see everything there is to see in America. So if I could travel anywhere I wanted right now I would like to head west to Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas to see and learn more of the history of the American West from Little Bighorn to Wounded Knee, etc.

What would you like to pass on to future generations?

I would like future generations to understand the importance of knowing one's heritage. Go out and see and learn what America is all about. Understand the many sacrifices that have made America what it is today. Understand that Robert E. Lee was a great military figure but was key after the Civil War in the growth of an outstanding university. Or that General Lew Wallace had many important military roles in the war but afterwards wrote the top selling novel of the 19th century. I believe it is difficult to get where you want to go if you do not understand where you have been. 

If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why?

Considering all of history, and being American, I would most like to meet George Washington. He is the basis of what we are today due to his understanding of what was trying to be accomplished by the other founding fathers. He sacrificed with being away from Mount Vernon for years while enduring the hardships of a difficult war and then forming the office of the president for an entirely new form of government.  

Anything else you want to share?

I have always been deeply interested in history. My father served in World War II and often talked about his experiences on Iwo Jima. I first visited a Civil War battlefield, Gettysburg, during a family vacation when I was 10. I have been hooked on seeing and learning more history ever since. The American Battlefield Trust has played a key role in helping me achieve these ends as well as the confidence to pass along my experiences and knowledge to others.