Pair follow masses to Gettysburg
Since he was 5, Mt. Pleasant Township's William Splendore has been an enthusiast of the Civil War and, particularly, the Battle of Gettysburg.
“It's the best place,” said William, now 12, and a soon-to-be sixth-grader at Rumbaugh Elementary School in the borough.
William and his mother, Margie Splendore, recently joined thousands of others at the 150th Gettysburg Anniversary National Civil War Battle Re-enactment held July 4-7 near the small hamlet in Adams County.
“He knows all about that battle, who the generals were; it's amazing,” said Splendore, a registered nurse.
“I have a great interest in Civil War medicine and I attend all the historical medical events that are offered in Gettysburg,” she said.
In 2006, the Splendore family went on the first of many trips to the hallowed grounds where the single largest and one of the most pivotal military engagements ever fought on American soil took place.
“The battlefields there are really spooky and really cool,” William said.
During the past seven years, William's interest in Gettysburg has manifested in a massive collection of books, DVDs, miniature soldiers and a tabletop-sized diorama in his home, which outlines the clash that took place there from July 1-3, 1863.
“Going to Gettysburg as many times as we have, really getting immersed in it, it has really inspired him,” said Splendore regarding the biannual trips to the site with her son.
“We have stayed in all the famous places, such as the James Gettys Hotel, the oldest hotel in Gettysburg, started by the city's founder,” she said.
Family friend William Lane, 56, of Mt. Pleasant Township accompanied the Splendores on that trip last summer.
“I think he's been there more times than me,” Lane quipped about William. “He watches movies and reads books on the Civil War all the time.”
On this trip, the Splendores stayed at Gettysburg College, which once offered its main buildings as makeshift hospital wards for those wounded in the battle.
They explored a “Living History” encampment and activities tents, witnessed field demonstrations and observed the full-scale re-enactment of the battle.
The Splendores said seeing the battlefields and imagining the carnage and heroism that once took place was one thing, but witnessing the re-enactment was another.
Participants dressed in uniforms that mirrored those worn by the Union and Confederate troops of the time to recreate the battles that took place before their eyes.
“History's being made right in front of you,” William said.
As a first-grader at Rumbaugh, William said he first learned about Abraham Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves and the Gettysburg Address.
He admitted that no book has ever taught him more about Gettysburg or the Civil War than the experience of being there.
William is the son of Bill and Margie Splendore.
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.