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Perry County Family Tradition of Honoring Gettysburg Battlefield - abc27 WHTM

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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