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Meet Don and Pat G. from Iowa

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An interview with Color Bearer members

Even though we have lived far away from most of the events of the Civil War, we feel our contributions have helped make significant contributions toward the preservation and interpretation of sites across the country. These endeavors provide opportunities for people to better understand the war at a time when our educational system generally reduces it to a few paragraphs.

Don and Pat Granstra, Color Bearers

Don and Pat Granstra
Don and Pat Granstra, Color Bearers
Buddy Secor

 

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

Don and Pat G.: Our interest in the Civil War led us to visit various battlefields and to subscribe to several publications related to the war. Advertisements for the Civil War Preservation Trust caught our attention; we thought it could be a vehicle by which we could make a positive impact, but we wanted to know more. When we attended the 140th re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg, we spoke with a number of individuals representing various smaller battlefield sites.  Most of them were familiar with the Trust and gave it good reviews.

What do you enjoy most about being a Color Bearer?

Being Color Bearers fills us with pride. Even though we have lived far away from most of the events of the Civil War, we feel our contributions have helped make significant contributions toward the preservation and interpretation of sites across the country. These endeavors provide opportunities for people to better understand the war at a time when our educational system generally reduces it to a few paragraphs. On a personal, selfish level, we enjoy the Color Bearer events. Being able to walk battlefields in the company of scholars, sometimes in areas unavailable to the general public, is thrilling. Finally, we enjoy the company of the staff and fellow Color Bearers.

What is your favorite battlefield you’ve visited?

What a tough question!

Don's choice is Gettysburg because of its size and complexity. We have visited it several times, sometimes on private tours led by licensed guides who have special interests and took us to places off the beaten paths. We both appreciate the restoration efforts that allow the public to experience Gettysburg as it looked in 1863.

Pat: I rather like Shiloh because its rather remote location protected it from development. My favorite battlefield, however, is New Market. I am drawn to human interest stories of the war, and the story of the VMI students' role in the battle touches me.

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

Don has an interest in visiting the Netherlands because of his Dutch heritage.

Pat: Foreign travel holds little interest for me as I would prefer to see what the U. S. has to offer.

In either case, we are interested in visiting sites related to history.

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

Don says his choice would be U. S. Grant because of his tenacity and his having to overcome personal problems.

Pat: Quanah Parker is my choice. His metamorphosis from orphaned half-breed to Comanche war chief to businessman in Indian Territory fascinates me.

Anything else you want to share?

Despite the thousands of books written about the Civil War, I think many more need to be written about lesser-known individuals whose contributions were significant.