Civil War re-enactors raise preservation funds in Tarentum
By Jodi Weigand
Published: Monday, November 5, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012
When Civil War re-enactor Mike Valasek recounted the history of Veterans Day on Sunday, he had trouble holding back tears.
“I'd have to say it's about the respect I have for veterans,” he said after a program at the Allegheny-Kiski Valley Historical Society in Tarentum. “Just knowing what I know about Civil War soldiers and what they went through … I just have the utmost respect for what they've done.”
Valasek, 57, of New Kensington, and his wife, Jan, are members of the 78th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Company F, of Freeport, a group of Civil War re-enactors who portray a typical Union Army unit and raise money for battlefield preservation.
The co-ed group, dressed in Civil War-era uniforms and clothing, displayed relics and shared their knowledge with museum visitors about the Civil War, which was fought from 1861 to 1865.
“Veterans Day was founded with World War I, but in modern days it's tied in with all wars, and you appreciate all veterans,” said Matt Hooks, 32, of Allegheny Township, vice president of the 78th PVI.
The Hooks family joined the re-enactors about 18 years ago, said Vickie Hooks, 55, of Kittanning Township, Matt Hooks' mom. Through research she did as a member, she learned that her great-great-great-grandfather was in the 78th Company K out of the Slate Lick area during the Civil War.
Hooks and fellow member Jan Valasek, 56, of New Kensington said camping out during a weekend re-enactment helps them understand what it was like for soldiers and family during that time.
“You realize the hardships that they had,” Valasek said.
“At night when you look out and see all the lanterns lit up, it just really gets you,” Hooks added.
Some members of the group plan to travel to Gettysburg on Nov. 17 for this year's Remembrance Day, which honors the Civil War dead and commemorates Lincoln's Gettysburg Address of Nov. 19, 1863.
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or email@example.com.
- Steelers rookie safety Thomas learning from Polamalu, Clark
- First-rounder McGuire expected to sign with Pirates on Tuesday
- BVA will refinance bond issue
- After all-conference year at St. Francis, Colligan gets to play St. Andrews
- Arrington thriving with post-NFL endeavors
- Farmers and Merchants Bank moves into Freeport
- Deer’s visit could force changes at Apollo-Ridge High School
- Pilot of ultralight plane killed in crash
- Pirates notebook: Mercer now the top option at shortstop
- Judge delays hearing in wild chase, theft case
- New Alexandria woman charged with carrying 96 bags of heroin
You must be signed in to add comments
To comment, click the Sign in or sign up at the very top of this page.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.