We are blessed in our country to still have the remains of some of our battlefields. Yet we don’t realize how quickly we are losing them.
Gene Smallwood, Color Bearer
Color Bearer Gene Smallwood with American Battlefield Trust President Jim Lighthizer
American Battlefield Trust: What moved you to first give to our organization?
Gene S.: When I was a youngster, my Father a career Army Officer would take me to every Civil War, Revolutionary War battlefield near whatever Army Post he would be transferred to. And there were many in his 19 years before his death in Vietnam. As I grew older, I lost interest until after college. When I joined the Navy that love returned as I recalled the trips my Father would take me on. I became involved in Civil War reenacting as a diehard Union soldier. I began to realize the sites I saw as a youngster were no longer the sites I was seeing now. They were well dilapidated or in some cases no longer existing. I decided to start contributing when your request letters would arrive. It wasn’t long afterwards that I wanted to do more than just send a donation every time these arrived so I became a Color Bearer.
What do you enjoy most about being a Color Bearer?
Just the ability to be able to contribute more on a steady basis and belong to an elite group.
What is your favorite battlefield you’ve visited?
That’s an easy one. Antietam or Sharpsburg depending upon your allegiance. I love how the battle developed, played out, the missed opportunities on both sides and the ending that could’ve happened but didn’t. Not only that, but I live, as the crow flies, 4 miles away! My other favorites are Stones River, Perryville, Chickamauga.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Well, having spent thirty years in the Navy, I’ve pretty much been everywhere, to every continent in the world. However, there are two locations I haven’t been too that are on my bucket list: Gallipoli and Thermopylae. Gallipoli because of the sacrifice and stubbornness of the ANZAC troops and Thermopylae because of the legendary bravery of holding the pass.
If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why?
That’s a simple one. President Abraham Lincoln. Why? I’d like to sit and talk with him about his thoughts on the war, why he made certain decisions, what he thought of certain Generals, battles, issues, etc.
Anything else you want to share?
We are blessed in our country to still have the remains of some of our battlefields. Yet we don’t realize how quickly we are losing them. We must make every effort we can to preserve them, fight for them, seek Congressional, big business, and other support to preserve them.
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