Being able to support those efforts, to be able to walk land that I was part of preserving, is truly a great source of pride for me.
John Dudzik, Color Bearer
American Battlefield Trust: What moved you to first give to our organization?
John: I started to contribute to the Trust many years ago, after my first visits of battlefields with private tour companies. Through these I gained a greater appreciation of the history and beauty of these sites. Over time, I became more aware of the myriad of threats they were facing, whether through urban sprawl or commercial development. I felt organizations like the Association of the Preservation of Civil War Sites (APCWS) would help protect the battlefields I believed were essential to understanding our nation’s history. The Trust in its various iterations has faithfully fulfilled that mission and continues to do so to this day. Being able to support those efforts, to be able to walk land that I was part of preserving, is truly a great source of pride for me.
What do you enjoy most about being a Color Bearer?
That’s a tough one to answer, as there are so many aspects of being a Color Bearer that I enjoy. A big part is knowing that I have made an abiding commitment to the work of the Trust. I know the Trust truly values the contributions of all its members. The unique role of the Color Bearers in the Trust’s work is something I feel is acknowledged at every conference and in every issue of Hallowed Ground, and especially in every interaction I have with the Trust staff.
I know the Trust is an excellent steward of my contributions, as can be seen in the continued growth of land the Trust has protected and in the innovative approaches it has developed to further educating Americans, young and old, about our nation’s history. Finally, I have made so many friends among the Color Bearers, individuals I see year after year at the annual conference, men and women who have the same vision of preserving our nation’s heritage.
What is your favorite battlefield you’ve visited?
Another challenging question as there are so many I’ve enjoyed seeing. I’m an unabashed Westerner when it comes to how I view the Civil War. However, I must admit that my two favorite battlefields are Gettysburg and Antietam. The first for the sheer size and diversity of the battle and battlefield, the second for the captivating history of the campaign and battle there, as well as the isolated nature and beauty of the battlefield.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
The Balkans, Greece, and Turkey. I’ve long been fascinated by the Byzantine Empire and the region, with its history of both Western and Islamic cultures.
If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why?
This is an easy question for me to answer! Without a doubt, I would want to meet Major Richard Winters of “Band of Brothers” fame. I have read books by and about him and have been deeply affected by his experiences and his philosophy of leadership. I try to apply his “Leadership at the Point of a Bayonet” in my work every day. One of my most memorable moments in a trip my family made to France several years ago was to the site of the statue commemorating Major Winters in Normandy.
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