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Camp Hill Couple Honors Civil War Soldiers and Civilians - abc27 WHTM

Camp Hill Couple Honors Civil War Soldiers and Civilians

Camp Hill Couple Honors Civil War Soldiers and Civilians

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Rick and Gay Fitzgerald of Camp Hill believe passionately that our nation's Civil War years are a time to be studied and appreciated. Visitors need only to step inside their ranch-style home to appreciate their passion for American history.

"Walking through the house is kind of like a small tour of early America," Rick told me during a quick tour of their home.

"A lot of people will make the comment, our home looks nice house on the outside, but when you walk in, you're back in time."

Throughout the home there are housewares and furniture from early to late 19th century, along with artifacts, weapons and uniforms once common on American battlefields.

And don't look for the Fitzgeralds to tire of American history, especially the Civil War era..

"In our lifetime, I don't think Gay and I will be able to actually research enough of that time period, we love it so much," said Rick.

The extensive collection started forty years ago with Rick's childhood fascination of antique military weapons a fascination that never wavered through adulthood. But, even with such a large collection, Rick and Gay are quick to point out that their home is not a museum.

"If we go antiquing, we plan on using what we buy," said Gay, demonstrating their antique coffee grinder. "If we can't use it, or sit on it, or light it, we don't want it."

And the more they examine the lifestyles of those who lived through the hardships of war, the more they appreciate what they accomplished.

"What they did in their homes and around the fires and in their kitchen," said Gay, "it just amazes me what they could do."

For a living, Rick works in Central Processing at Cumberland County Courthouse and teaches self defense and pepper spray use for courthouse workers. Gay is an OB Surgical Technician at The Birthplace- Holy Spirit Hospital.

Away from home, the Fitzgeralds are active Civil War reenactors at encampments, parades and civic programs. Even their wedding four years ago was a living history event, including mid-19th century dress, a traditional ceremony, authentic food and proper military honors.

"This will be a passion of mine to the day I pass," said Rick, looking through a closet full of authentic Civil War attire. "This will be with me the rest of my life. And I'm sure my wife feels the same way."
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