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The world of 1980 was home to nearly 4 Billion people, about 200 Million living in the United States. President Jimmy Carter started out the year at the helm, until the November election replaced the southerner with California Governor Ronald Reagan. Seven percent of the country was unemployed. Gas prices had reached an all time high, though lines of vehicles circled filling stations waiting their turn to fill it up.
1980 was a Year of Sports Headlines!
The sportswriters across the US were having their heyday! The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Las Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl by a score of 31 to 19. Pennsylvanians reveled in the joy of moment. They weren’t yet over their celebratory times, however. Their Philadelphia Phillies would win the World Series, beating Kansas City by two runs for a final score of 4 to 2. The state of Pennsylvania was now the state of Euphoria! For a while, that is. When the Lakers defeated the 76ers to win the NBA Championship, Las Angeles called it retribution while Pennsylvania called it an unjustified two point piece of luck. College basketball proclaimed Louisville NCAA Champs after defeating UCLA (59 to 54), and the NCAA Football Champs for 1980 was Georgia with an overall record of 12 wins, 0 losses and ties - the perfect record! I imagine the people in Georgia thought of this as something to write home about, which they probably did since stamps were a mere 15cents! In 1980, if something was called a "genuine risk" it surely wouldn't be something you'd want to bet your last dollar on. Unless, however, the "genuine risk" was "Genuine Risk" - the horse that won the Kentucky Derby! I wonder just how many were swayed in their judgment and bet on a horse with a little less "risk"!
1980 was a year of Headline News! Literally!
Ted Turner launched the first all-news network in the country "CNN", and Cable News Network and Headline News became a new household name. Television wasn't the only box office hit in town. Moviegoers were lining up outside movie theatres to get their ticket to see "Raging Bull" or "Coal Miners Daughter", "The Elephant Man", "Tess", or "Ordinary People". Those who weren't so much the moviegoer might have been reading books similar to William Golding's "Rites of Passage" or John Kennedy Toole's book "A Confederacy of Dunces".
1980 was a year for Great Awards!
The Pulitzer prize went to David Del Tredici and his "In Memory of a Summer Day". Academy Award for Best Picture went to "Kramer vs. Kramer", produced by Stanley R Jaffe. The Grammy Award Record of the Year was "What a Fool Believes", sung by the Doobie Brothers, written by Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald. It was also awarded the Song of theYear. The Album of the Year went to Billy Joel's "52nd Street", a Columbia product. And the Miss America Award went to Cheryl Prewitt, from Mississippi.
1980 was a year of Great Accomplishments!
A 98 pound former teacher, Janice Brown, made the very first longdistance solar-powered flight in "Solar Challenger", and "Voyager I" reached Saturn, sending proof of Saturns 14 moons and more than 1000 rings. Wistar Institute in Philadelphia developed a new rabies vaccine, announcing its less painful effects on humans. DNA, the substance that controls the activity of the cell, became a household term when Walter Gilbert and Frederick Sanger were able to finally develop methods to map its structure and function. This would begin to play a crucial role in legal cases around the world.
1980 was a Year of Promise!
On Tuesday, June 17 in a hospital in Cincinnati, the Anderson family was blessed with the birth of Andrew Keith Anderson. With this promise, came also heartache, and determination. Born with severe medical problems that threatened his life for years, Andy seemed already determined to survive. In and out of hospitals and doctor offices for three years, he and his mom met one catastrophic ordeal after another while his mom held fast to the mantra "Andy and mom...Andy and mom...We will survive...there is nothing that can beat us". His father abandoned the family when Andy was three years old, leaving behind astronomical bills resulting in financial challenges as well as great emotional turmoil. His mother's mantra became their driving force.
"Nothing is stronger than us...we can make it through anything."
The Boy, The Musician, The Poet, The Artist
Sometimes life just doesn't seem 'fair'. In the "perfect world", children don't suffer and mothers don't know the pain of watching their children suffer. Such the "perfect world" rarely exists for long. Andy and Karen's "perfect world" was threatened immediately. Andy was born with a defect known as "Hypospadias". Like others suffering from this birth defect, Andy was born without a urethra, resulting in the continuous backing up of urine and the poisonous by-products it creates. For the first three years of his life, Andy spent an enormous portion in Doctor offices and Hospitals. Facing one surgery after another, one horrific test after another, and the pain that accompanied them, Andy seemed to develope a "seriousness" about him unlike most children his age.
When his father left his marriage, he abondoned his son, adding only to the already mounting financial obstacles and emotional trauma Andy had experienced. "His early years were forged with physical and emotional traumas", his mom told an interviewer in 1997. "He developed a seriousness at an early age from this."
As was told by the reporter in the interview, "this serious attitude has contributed to Andrew's achievements in many different areas".
This "seriousness" didn't prevent Andy from enjoying life, however. He was active in Soccer, loved Rollerblading, had a keen interest in music and writing, and perhaps due to his own suffering, he became extremely charasmatic - later becoming involved in animal Rescue programs resulting in 'saving many lives' throughout the country. He was a member of the Aussie Lads Rescue Group, based in Mesa, Arizona. Eventually, there would be an animal sanctuary named after him - "Andy's Sanctuary", honoring his passion and his efforts toward animal rescue.
He knew the heartache of an abandoning father, yet he was raised to concentrate on the unconditional love that was his. Andy reveled in the love and encouragement his mother's family offered. He had cousins who would also become 'friends', aunts to hug and love him dearly, an uncle to teach him 'the basics of manhood' (shaving, for instance), a grandfather who simply adored him and a grandmother ("Crackers") who worshiped the ground he walked upon. His relationship with his mom had always been a very special one - and remained one of extreme closeness. They were after all, a "team". They stood beside one another and cared for one another - depending upon one another for sheer emotional survival. Andy had been "dealt some lousy cards" perhaps, but he also knew he'd "hit the jackpot"!
Andrew accomplished so very much through his musical talents, being rewarded numerous awards and much recognition. And still he ventured into other interests as well. Before graduating High School, his writing skills had already been recognized with the publishing of his poetry in "Poetic Voices of America".
At the age of 13, he wrote "The Promise" - a reflection of his writing skills, but also his insight, compassion, and quest to understand the thoughts and feelings of others. The poem depicts a column of soldiers marching past. He doesn't say if they're Union or Confederate troops. It doesn't matter what side they had fought during the Civil War. It mattered only that they fought for what they believed in at the time.
"He's different, muilti-faceted. He's a pleasure to work with and he gives me hope that he will positively contribute to society."
These words were from Andy's English teacher in High School, Felicia Roberson. The poem "The Promise" appears on Andy's Home Page on a memorial collage created by his mom.
When Andy was around the age of 11, he began to play his favorite instrument: the viola. To those who, (like me), couldn't tell the difference between a violin, a fiddle or a viola - I'll try to explain the difference in the instruments, the fashion in which they are played and the history behind the instrument itself.
The Viola has been around since as early as the 1500s. It's a member of the "violin family", but is slightly larger, with a deeper and more mellow tone. The shape and dimensions of the viola in their present form evolved early in the 16th century, and like the violin evolved directly from the "viola da braccio". It's role in early orchestra was usually only harmony. It often had the bass line since composers couldn't think of anything else to write for the instrument. The melody was left to the brighter, higher violin and more powerful, distinct cello. The viola is tuned lower than the violin, (a fifth lower), and parallels the human alto voice. In the 20th century, the viola began to be given a more prominent role in the orchestra. Today it is featured as a solo instrument.
Andy's dedication to the viola landed him "First Chair" position with the Hilton Head Youth Orchestra, as well as a membership in the 1995 Junior All-State Orchestra, and was ranked 13th in the South Carolina State's Junior Division. "It's not only his hobby, but a way of life", says Sunny Mullarkey, a friend of Andy's and fellow student at his High School.
Janet Sawyer, Andy's strings teacher at Beaufort High School told the student reporter of "Sidekicks" (suplement to Beaufort Gezette) "Andrew is wonderful and very talented - a real leader. If I need anything demonstrated in class, he's willing to do it." She had first met Andrew when he was a member of the Beaufort Chamber Orchestra.
Andy best explains what the viola means to him: "It has had a dramatic impact on my ways of thinking and lets me explore and express the recesses of my mind." His many concerts performed, and the many times he has been "featured" in concerts certainly reflected his dedication to this viola; his instrument of choice. The viola was no doubt Andy's own extension of his heart and soul.
Andy had a special interest in the works of Beethoven, though he enjoyed other classical music as well. The story of Beethoven, his hardships and his "hauntings" may well have touched Andy's life with a bit of ironic similarities. He passionately perfomed renditins of Beethoven's compositions on the very instrument that even Beethoven detested writing for.
I wonder if Andy thought it strange that Bach and Mozart both were accomplished violinists, though these composers found it difficult to 'write' for the viola. Music written for the viola is different from that of the violin and requires a different technique. While the violins use mostly legato and staccato bowstrokes, violists will use more spiccato - off the string technique.
Though he took his music very seriously, he took his artwork just as serious.
Andy was a member of the National Art Honor Society and has created some beautiful works of passion and art in his paintings. "Cracker's Carolina Wren" was his first painting, and simply depicts a wren on a branch, and it's as beautiful as any painting I've ever seen.
His two different paintings of Christ on the Cross are as oposite as they are grandeur. His ability to capture expression is uncanny. These and other paintings by Andy can be viewed on the "Andy's Art Gallery" page. I'm sure you'll find them as captivating as I have found them to be.
Andy was able to capture - not only 'the great' - but also 'the simple' - the beauties others may overlook. His 'eye' for detail and his 'thirst' for the passion probably stirred a part of his inner spirit to feel the strong desire to 'portray'. During an interview, Andy explained it this way:
"As an artist, it is my duty to give forth my own ideas in a fashion that will capture the attention and passion of others." Andy continued as he explained his own personal 'grail': "...and to preserve and better mankind by pointing out our strengths and weaknesses."
Andy's story is one of great accomplishment. In 1997, his mom (Karen) nominated Andrew for the 1997 South Carolina Heroes Award. This award is presented to young people who have demonstrated extraordinary achievments and have overcome severe obstacles.
As a junior in High School, Andy was in fact awarded this prestigeous award. Already, he had received awards for Outstanding Achievements in Chemistry, Outstanding Achievements in US History, was a published poet, and an accomplished musician. Now he would be presented an award only given to 13 young people across the state of South Carolina.
He had indeed once again given him mom a 'Proud Parent Moment'. "Andrew has always marched to the beat of a different drummer," his mom says of her son. "He gave me more 'Proud Parent Moments' than I can count", said Karen. "His awareness of his place in society is very mature. I am so lucky to be a part of his life. He is my breath, my life and my soul."
The Federal Soldier from the South
Andy was seemingly drawn to the events of the Civil War because it was such a turning point in this nation’s history, but said his interest was initially peaked after watching a movie. “What initially interested me in the Civil War was the movie Glory.”
“Glory” starred Mathew Broderick as the young Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, commander of a newly formed Massachusetts 54th, an experiemental regiment of black soldiers and called ‘the colored regiment’.
Andy researched further in to Colonel Shaw’s life, visited the places where Shaw had in fact walked, and, to further demonstrate his admiration for the man, Andy painted his own version of a portrait of Shaw. This painting (along with others) may be viewed on “The Gallery” page of this site.
His interest in the Civil War and the men who fought it resulted in Andy joining the Reactivated 48th Regiment. The Original 48th was made up of men from New York City and New Jersey, and was formed shortly after the fall of Fort Sumter in the summer of 1861.
The 48th was assigned to the Department of the South and served the first three years of the war on the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. It occupied Fort Pulaski, in Georgia, from April of 1862 when their accuracy and range of the rifled cannons rendered the brick fortifications obsolete; surprising the military strategists of the Confederacy. Immediately after capturing the fort, Major General David Hunter, an ardent abolitionist, ordered the release of area slaves.
Many were recruited into the Union Army, comprising the First South Carolina Colored Regiment. In July the 48th joined with other units assaulting Battery Wagner on Morris Island located at Charleston harbor. An amphibious federal force had earlier landed at Lighthouse Inlet, at the north end of Morris Island and overran two thirds of the island before being stopped at Battery Wagner, a position that kept Federal guns just beyond range of Charleston, South Carolina. The only possible answer was to capture the Battery and the remainder of the low, sandy, flea infested island (know locally as "Coffin Island" due to its use as a Lazaretto and leper colony prior to the war).
The fort was held by a small garrison of Confederate Infantry and Artillery and protected by a narrow approach up the beach, constricted by a marshy creek, which funneled the soldiers onto a strip of sand a few hundred feet wide. After a heavy naval and land bombardment, as assault force led by the Massachusetts 54th, with fixed bayonets volunteered to do 'the impossible' and storm the fort. The Federals were able to occupy a small portion of the fort and the 54th planted its colors atop the parapet. After lengthy hand to hand fighting, the Federal troops were ordered to withdraw, leaving Wagner in Confederate hands once again. Losses were heavy.
This is the battle portrayed in the movie “Glory” that originally inspired Andy’s keen interest in the Civil War. The Union Soldiers planned to attempt to take Wagner by siege, digging zigzag trenches towards the fort and moving large guns into closer range. The Navy pounded Battery Wagner from the sea, using a large calcium light at night to prevent to Confederates from rebuilding the fort. On some days a shell was thrown into Wagner every 30 seconds for hours at a time. The Fort held out another 58 days under heavy bombardment before being abandoned in September.
Union losses were astronomical, and the 48th New York suffered severely. Of the over 500 soldiers on duty with the 48th, 284 died. In February of 1864, the 48th fought the Battle of Olustee, in Florida. The background to the Battle of Olustee began with Florida's secession from the Union in January of 1861. Despite its small population and lack of resources, Florida was an enthusiastic member of the Confederacy, at least in the early stages of the war. The state provided some 15,000 men to the Confederate armies, with perhaps 5,000 failing to return. Florida itself was not considered of strategic importance by either side during the start of the war. As the war progressed, however, Florida did become valuable to the Confederacy as a source of much-needed beef, leather and salt.
Extensive salt works were established along Florida's coast, with seawater being boiled down for its valuable content. The Union navy mounted numerous expeditions to destroy these works, but the industry continued until the end of the war. The ranges of central and south Florida, meanwhile, provided tens of thousands of cattle, desperately needed by the main Confederate armies.
On February 20th, two great armies clashed in the virgin pine flat woods of north-central Florida, near a railroad station named Olustee, about fifteen miles east of Lake City. The battle raged for four hours. When it ended, the Union Army had suffered a stinging defeat. Of the more than 5,000 Federals that had entered the battle, nearly 2,000 were killed, wounded, or captured. The Confederate forces, which also numbered just over 5,000, suffered less than 1,000 casualties.
The Battle of Olustee, known also as "Ocean Pond", was the largest battle fought in Florida during the Civil War. Following Olustee, the 48th was transferred to Virginia and to the Army of the James, commanded by Major General Benjamin Butler. Butler is said to be more of a “political general” than one with skills on the battlefields. He was a strong supporter of Abraham Lincoln though, and through his political ties was given command of the Army of the James. This army (including the 48th New York) converged on Bermuda Hundred.
This campaign took its name from the fishing village of Bermuda Hundred on the peninsula at the confluence of the Appomattox and the James Rivers. The village is southeast of Richmond, and northeast of Petersburg. It was a strategic point of concern and contention. It was downriver from the fortifications at Drewry's Bluff. Butler led his army down the James River, disembarking from the transport ships on May 5th, 1864. He had also dropped off some forces at City Point, outside of Petersburg, hoping to draw attention from his larger forces.
Opposing him was a "Confederate Army" (the Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia) of 18,000 under the command of General P.G.T. Beauregard. Theoretically, this "confederate army” should have been no ‘match’ for Butler’s troops. Most of the soldiers in Beauregard’s army were teenagers and elderly men. Beauregard’s subordinate commanding troops were under George Pickett (later famed by “Pickett’s Charge”).
The Richmond-Petersburg area was extremely vulnerable in any condition, but for Major General Benjamin Butler’s lacking of battlefield skills. Butler's expedition was an overall failure and he was "bottled up" at Bermuda Hundred, unable to move. Although Butler was able to distract Confederate forces for a brief time, Beauregard’s victories at Proctor's Creek and Ware Bottom Church enabled reinforcements to join General Lee’s army in time for the fighting at Cold Harbor: the next assignment given the 48th New York Regiment when attached to the Army of the Potomac.
The Battle of Cold Harbor, the final battle of Union Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant’s 1864 “Overland Campaign” was one of American History’s most lopsided battles. Grant described it as the “one attack I always regretted ordering”. The battle was fought in central Virginia atop the same ground as part of the Seven Day War of 1862. (In fact, some accounts refer to the 1862 battle as the First Battle of Cold Harbor, and the 1864 battle as the Second Battle of Cold Harbor.) Soldiers were disturbed to discover skeletal remains from the first battle as they entrenched.
Despite the name, Cold Harbor was not a port city. It was named for a hotel located in the area that provided shelter, or “harbor”.
The battle began on May 31st, 1864 when the Union Cavalry under Major General Philip H. Sheridan occupied the crucial crossroads of Old Cold Harbor, 10 miles from the Confederate capital of Richmond Virginia. By outflanking Lee's army three separate times, Sheridan now stood at the gates of Richmond. Grant hoped that one more attack might finally break the outnumbered Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee.
For two days, the armies of Lee and Grant took up new positions around Cold Harbor. Grant, having received heavy reinforcement, brought 105,000 men onto the field. Lee had also managed to replace many of his 20,000 casualties, and his army numbered 59,000. Grant's reinforcements were often raw recruits and heavy artillery troops unfamiliar with infantry tactics, while most of Lee's had been veterans moved from inactive fronts, and they were strongly entrenched in fortifications.
Grant, unaware of the strength of the Confederate “earthworks” (entrenching) that confronted his army, directed forces under George G. Meade to mount an assault. Meade and his corps commanders failed to conduct any meaningful reconnaissance of the enemy position, and his men worried about the assault. Many of the soldiers were apprehensive enough that some pinned notes inside their uniforms, meant to identify their bodies after their presumed deaths.
One blood-spattered diary from a Union soldier found after the battle included a final entry: "June 3, 1864. Cold Harbor. I was killed." The next day, Grant launched no attacks on the Confederate defenses. He later said that he regretted for the rest of his life the decision to send in his men. The two opposing armies faced each other for nine days of low intensity trench warfare. Grant was criticized in the Northern press for refusing to negotiate an immediate temporary truce with Lee for the purpose of gathering bodies and treating the wounded between the lines.
On June 12th, the Army of the Potomac finally disengaged, and marched southeast across the James River to mount an attack on Petersburg, the railroad junction south of Richmond. Within the ranks of the Army of the Potomac, marched the men of the 48th New York. Petersburg had been a supply center for Richmond, given its strategic location just south of the capital. Not only was it oriented on the Appomattox River, but also was a major crossroads and a junction for five railroads. The taking of Petersburg would make the defense of Richmond much more of an issue for Lee.
The Siege of Petersburg, on June 15th, 1864 through April 2nd, 1865 lasted ten months. General Grant’s idea of confronting and defeating Lee's army in the open was the primary goal. Grant selected a geographic and political target and knew that his superior resources could besiege Lee there, pin him down, and either starve him into submission or lure him out for a decisive battle. Lee at first believed that Grant's main target was Richmond, and only devoted minimal troops under the command of General Beauregard to the defense of Petersburg.
With his minimal troop strength of around 2,200 men, Grant deployed his forces in a series of fortifications named the “Dimmock Line” (a ring of partially enclosed forts, connected by trench lines, named after Captain Charles Dimmock, the supervising officer) along the south side of the city. On the 15th, Union troops under the command of General William F.”Baldy” Smith attacked Beauregard's lines, and quickly opened up a hole in the defenses. Union commanders were apprehensive about continuing to attack, as Beauregard had engaged in a set of elaborate feints to fool the Union into believing he had more men and more guns than he actually did, including lighting many campfires and building fake cannons out of logs ("Quaker Guns").
Union forces failed to continue to press attacks on the Confederate lines, allowing Lee to reinforce Beauregard's forces in the next few days. With the Union's blunders during the first days of the battle, the stage was set for a drawn out siege. General Grant made his headquarters in a cabin on the lawn of Appomattox Manor, (the oldest home in what was then City Point, but is now Hopewell, Virginia). In an attempt to break the siege, Union troops under the command of General Ambrose Burnside mined a tunnel under the Confederate lines at Elliot's Salient.
If you've watched the movie "Cold Mountain", you 'll recognize this description. On July 30th, 1864, they detonated the explosives, creating a crater some 135 feet in diameter (that remains visible to this day). Some 280 to 350 Confederate soldiers were instantly killed in the blast.
Despite the ingenuity of the Union's plan (which had been devised by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pleasants, a former miner), the lengthy, bloody Battle of the Crater, as it came to be called, was a decisive Confederate victory. On August 13th, Union troops under the overall command of Winfield Scott Hancock crossed the James River at Deep Bottom to threaten Richmond. Initial assaults made by Northern Armies were successful, but Confederate counterattacks under Charles Field retook the lost ground.
The Federals withdrew to the south side of the river and were able to hold the bridgehead. While Confederates were tied up at Deep Bottom, Grant sent another force to the west against the Weldon Railroad under the command of Gouverneur K. Warren. On August 18th, Warren drove off Confederate pickets and began destroying the track near Globe Tavern.
A Confederate counterattack on the 19th under William Mahone turned Warren's flank, but the Federals were able to retake all the lost ground and the Union army was able to sever the vital Weldon Railroad link. Several days later they continued to destroy track of the Weldon Railroad. General Edward Ord captured Fort Harrison on the 29th and David B. Birney seized the New Market Heights line. On the 30th, General Lee launched an unsuccessful counterattack against Fort Harrison.
With the Confederates massing reinforcements against Fort Harrison, Grant promptly sent troops against the Confederate right flank west of Petersburg. On September 30th, the Federals marched west from Poplar Springs Church past the Weldon Railroad.
By October 2nd, the Federals had taken two Confederate forts and broken and overrun one line of Confederate trenches. The Union lines were then extended from the Weldon Railroad to Peeble's Farm. One month later, they marched west of Petersburg and assaulted the Boydton Plank Road. The initial attack took the Confederate line. A Confederate counterattack left the Northerners isolated. Hancock was able to fight off the Confederate assault, but his isolated position left him with little choice but to withdraw. The battle marked the last battle for Hancock, who resigned from field command due to injuries sustained at Gettysburg.
General A.P. Hill was killed while trying to restore the broken Confederate line along the Boydton Plank Road. Hill had earlier vowed that he would never leave the Petersburg defenses. In January, the 48th was assigned to the Fort Fisher Expedition, and by taking that fort, they were able to seal off the last remaining open port of the Confederacy. Lee pulled his forces out from Petersburg and Richmond, and headed for the west in an attempt to meet up with forces under the command of General Joseph E. Johnston in North Carolina.
The 48th, meanwhile, joined Sherman’s Army of the Ohio as it marched up from North Carolina. Sherman’s Army and the 48th defeated Johnston, forcing the surrender of General Johnston’s Confederate army in North Carolina. Finally, in the spring of 1865, the survivors of the 48th Regiment headed home. By the end of the Civil War, the 48th was a mere shadow of the once mighty thousand-man regiment. Its flag was now in tatters and had sustained 859 casualties in four years of war.
Andy’s interest in the Civil War, the battles and the soldiers who fought them only increased as he read and studied more about these battles fought. When he began attending reenactments, the passion seeped even more deeply into his very blood. “I started going to local reenactments and, over a period of six months, I acquired a uniform. I then joined the 48th New York out of Jacksonville, Florida.”
Andy’s Regiment, the “Reactivated 48th”, offered Andy the opportunity to honor the soldiers who fought in the Civil War while attending living history events, participating in battle reenactments, and even addressing the general public on the history of the Civil War and the ‘reasons’ the South was defeated.
I've been fortunate enough to have watched a video made of Andy 'teaching' a class on the Battle of Gettysburgh. I was amazed at how comfortable he was. As he signified the placement of the Union and Confederate Troops in the various attacks (marking the Union Troops with blue chalk and the Confederate Troops with red chalk), he lent an almost eerie 'first hand experience' to the scenerio. He spoke with knowledge, with eloquence, and with passion as if he himself had survived the battles. This was his passion.
Andy became the youngest member of the Reactivated 48th when he was inducted in December of 1993. Andy was 13 years of age.
As a boy growing up in Beaufort, South Carolina, Andrew literally marched to that “different drum” as he participated in these Civil War reenactments.
In an article appearing in the Beaufort Gazette on February 21st of 1997, it was reported that he “enjoys reenacting because it allows him to do something different; to travel and to help people understand the war”. Sunny Mullarky was the student reporter for “Sidekicks”, a special addition to the newspaper written “by and for Beaufort High School students”.
Through their activities, the Reactivated 48th strive to experience the Civil War by going to great lengths to portray an average and common Federal soldier’s life. They do this by dressing in full historic uniforms and accoutrements (right down to the hand-sewn buttonholes), living in campaigns or garrisons, and even carrying the traditional historic food carried by Civil War soldiers (such as hard tack and salt pork).
Photos of Andy participating in these reenactments as a member of the 48th are found on “The Stage” page. The Reactivated 48th is primarily based in the Southeast United States, and has members in Georgia, North and South Carolina and Florida.
These “soldiers” come from all walks of life: from lobbyists and retail store managers to college students and police officers. Some of the members are Southern by birth, while some have a long line of prominent Southern ancestry. But the primary force of the membership is derived from a love for history and the excitement of living that history through experience.
Andy and his ‘fellow soldiers’ participated in “preservation marches”, conducted in order to raise money and/or awareness in order to possibly save a threatened piece of historical property. His unit conducted “Living History Demonstrations” for schools in the hope of educating children while inspiring interest in the Civil War.
This was something that particularly interested Andy.
As he told student reporter Sunny Mullarky:
“I wish to educate the public about the war
and the life of the soldier that went through it.”
Well, it's my opinion that Andy did educate the public. He educated us all on - not only the Civil War - but on believing and enduring and giving and loving - when the odds were good, but when they weren't so good. He taught us all just how much a person who is dedicated and determined can accomplish in life - no matter how short a life we're given. And he taught us too that life can sometimes be hard. Real hard. And, at times, some of us just need to find a place to rest for a moment...or forever.
We've heard it said before - "suicide is selfish and cruel".
That statement is nothing but ignorant and cruel.
Suicide is a method by which many find peace. It isn't the only method - nor the best method to seek - but for those who have succumbed to it - suicide is the ony method 'fool-proof' at a specific moment in a specific life.
Once we're long gone and forgotten - perhaps this world will better understand those who contemplate suicide. Perhaps the world will be gentler to those who have experienced it - and to those left to survive.
Perhaps in time, the world will recognize the risks before they are statistics - and the number will decrease.
But right now, suicide is the third leading cause of death among our 15 to 25 year olds!
THIRD LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH!
Right now - 20 percent of us will experience a suicide in our family. More of us will experience a suicide of a friend or co-worker.
And unless we face these facts and try to help those around us, they and WE shall fall victim to these stigmas...and statistics.
Watch this video put out there by AFSP: The American Foundation of Susicide Prevention. Real people share their own experience - they expose it all - so that we may never know what they know - how to survive a suicide of a loved one.
Andy continues to teach us - through his life and through his death - he continues to teach.