Perry County Family Tradition of Honoring Gettysburg Battlefield Legacy

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He was only
six years old at the time, but Leroy Sites of New Bloomfield clearly remember
his first visit to the Gettysburg Battlefield…and meeting some of the men who
fought in the civil war.

“What I
was amazed at,” recalled the 80-year-old, “was the fact that there
were so many of them that were there.”

He was there
with his dad for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

“Even
in 1938 there were eighteen hundred surviving veterans with an average age of
94,” Leroy remembered.

From that
visit, he proudly displays his dad's hand-drawn battlefield map, signed by
several of the Union and Confederate veterans.

That visit
was the beginning of a life-long fascination and appreciation for the hallowed
battlefield.

“Year
after year, we'd just go over, just loved to drive around in the
battlefield,” he said. “And I really know it by heart.”

Leroy's
other milestone visits include the Battle's 100th anniversary…and the 125th.
Then, in 1992, he was picked to suit up as an extra in the TV movie
“Gettysburg,” along with grandson, Tom.

“He got
to be a drummer boy the one day we were there.” Leroy said about his
grandson's on-camera experience.

For the upcoming
hundred and fiftieth anniversary, Leroy already has tickets in hand, including
one for his 6 year old great grandson. It's a tradition that surely would have
pleased Leroy's dad.

“He's
got to be looking down from up above saying: that lucky stiff,” he chuckled.

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