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Meet Terry Arliskas of Milwaukee, Wis.

An interview with a Color Bearer member

“ I believe it the responsibility of our generation and those to come to make sure that we preserve these battlefields for both those that fought there and for future generations as well.

Color Bearer Terry Arliskas

Color Bearer Terry Arliskas
Color Bearer Terry Arliskas

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

Terry: I've loved history my entire life.  My parents loved history as well, so many of our summer vacations were spent visiting historic sites and battlefields.  I've been fortunate enough to have visited most of the Civil War battlefields here in the US, as well as WWI and WWII  battlefields in Europe.   I love Joshua Chamberlain's quote - "In great deeds, something abides . On great fields something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear, but spirits linger, to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls."  And that's so very true - there is nothing quite like walking a battlefield and experiencing the terrain, it's the closest we can come to having a window to the past.   I believe it the responsibility of our generation and those to come to make sure that we preserve these battlefields for both those that fought there and for future generations as well.

What do you enjoy most about being a Color Bearer?

It really is an honor and a privilege to be able to support battlefield preservation, and it's so great to be able to see and walk the ground that the Trust has been able to preserve.  And the Trust does such great work not only in preserving American battlefields, but also with all the work it does with teachers and students.

What is your favorite battlefield?

Oh, that's such a hard one to answer!  I do love them all, but if I must name one, I'd have to say Shiloh.  Because of its location, it's so well preserved and pristine, and was such a crucial success for General Grant.  But honestly, I don't think there's a battlefield that I don't enjoy visiting!    

What would you like to pass on to future generations?

Just that it's so important to study and learn your history!   Knowing your history is a window into the past – OUR past.  The events of the past affect us every day.  It identifies who we are as a people and how we got to where we are today.  Appreciating those that came before us and learning from their success and failures makes us all better people today!   And one of the best ways to learn your history is to walk in the footsteps of those who came before on historic battlefields.   

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

Oh that's another tough one – one of my favorite historical figures in Thomas Jonathan ("Stonewall") Jackson.   I really admire him as a man and as a great General.  I think he, along with General Grant, really fit the "Great Man" theory that "great leaders are born, not made".  If I had to pick the one historical figure that I'd like to have a few drinks with, well for sure I'd have to say Daniel Sickles – he really must have had a charismatic personality to have done all the things that he did, not to mention having a way with the ladies! 

Anything else you want to share? 

Just that we are happy to support the Battlefield Trust and look forward to many more years of doing so!