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Meet Jamie R. from Westerville, OH

An interview with a Color Bearer member

I want a person to be able to walk onto these pieces of land and to immediately understand that something important and tragic happened there, and to leave with a sense of wonder and a humble thanks for the soldiers who fought there.

Jamie Ryan, Color Bearer

 

James Ryan

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

Jamie: The sudden loss of the Chantilly Battlefield in the 1980s convinced me that something had to be done. I joined APCWS shortly after it was formed and have remained an active member of the various successor organizations.

What do you enjoy most about being a Color Bearer? 

Knowing that my Color Bearer contribution is unrestricted dollars that allows management of the Trust to act strategically. I participate in all the direct appeals for buying a particular piece of land, but I know from personal experience on not-for-profit organization boards that unrestricted dollars are the key to organizational success. 

What is your favorite battlefield you’ve visited? 

Frank DeLuca was able to set up a tour for me and my friends of the Jericho Mill Battlefield shortly after the Trust helped acquire the property. I am a big fan of the Fifth Corps of the Army of the Potomac, and it was a thrilling experience to walk onto this pristine battlefield and know that I had a part in forever preserving the memory of those Fifth Corps soldiers who fought and died there.

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

I have been fortunate to be able to travel to many places. I would like to go to Katami National Park in Alaska, my maternal grandparents’ hometown near Bari, Italy and to the Mount Falcon Hotel near Ballina in County Mayo, Ireland, a former castle where my paternal grandfather grew up and where my great-grandfather was the Land Steward.

What would you like to pass on to future generations? 

I would like to preserve the battlefields of the Civil War, along with all the monumentation created by the veterans, and add modern interpretation based on all we have learned. I want a person to be able to walk onto these pieces of land and to immediately understand that something important and tragic happened there, and to leave with a sense of wonder and a humble thanks for the soldiers who fought there. 

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

I would like to meet Fitz John Porter and discuss with him the Battle of Second Manassas, his court martial trial, and his 25-year struggle for vindication thereafter.

Anything else you want to share? 

Yes. I am very happy that the Trust has extended its scope to include the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, and I hope the Trust’s mandate can be further expanded in the future to cover the various conflicts with Native Americans. All of these sites are important to preserve to explain the story of how our country was formed and expanded: good, bad and ugly. The worst possible thing that can happen is for Americans to forget how they got to be the nation we are today (and at future points in time).