Civil War Re-Enacters Reflect On When Our Nation Began Producer Jake Warga has a non-narrated portrait of a small group of Civil War buffs re-dedicating a Union veteran's grave in Oregon and reflecting on when our nation, as we understand it, was created. "We have the best country in the world, bar none."
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Civil War Re-Enacters Reflect On When Our Nation Began

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Civil War Re-Enacters Reflect On When Our Nation Began

Civil War Re-Enacters Reflect On When Our Nation Began

Civil War Re-Enacters Reflect On When Our Nation Began

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/104521881/104521850" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Producer Jake Warga has a non-narrated portrait of a small group of Civil War buffs re-dedicating a Union veteran's grave in Oregon and reflecting on when our nation, as we understand it, was created. "We have the best country in the world, bar none."

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel. Today, we are remembering men and women who gave their lives fighting for our country in far-off places. And now, we're going to hear about a group of military re-enactors in Oregon who spend nearly every weekend remembering soldiers who died on American soil in the Civil War.

(Soundbite of trumpet)

Colonel STEVEN BETCHERT(ph): Honor detail, ready.

I'm a colonel, Steve Betchert.

Aim.

I'm 57.

Fire.

(Soundbite of gunshot)

Load.

I'm what's called a field officer. This war took the lives of two percent of the entire American population, 620,000 Americans. It did unite the country and make it into one nation.

People used to say the United States are; after the war they said the United States is. The whole concept of being a nation came from this war. That's why we're here, is to tap people on the shoulders of modern world and say, hello, don't forget us.

Ready, aim, fire.

(Soundbite of gunshot)

Mr. HAROLD SLOVIK(ph): I'm Harold Slovik. I'm the commander of the Edward D. Baker Camp Number 6, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. I am wearing period correct union uniform. This is called a sack coat. Yes, I was in the Air Force. I was a cook and a baker.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SLOVIK: I never left the states. My great-great-grandfather got here in time to fight for Company K of the 54th New York Infantry for two years. I can say with great pride my family has put on the uniform from the Civil War to Vietnam, and I'm very proud of that. We have the best country in the world, bar none. For all of its faults and all of its mistakes, it's still the best damn experiment going. And the fact that I both was allowed and my family has been allowed to pay the rent...

Col. BETCHERT: Ready.

Mr. SLOVIK: ...for being born under that system...

Col. BETCHERT: Aim.

Mr. SLOVIK: ...that's where the pride comes in.

Col. BETCHERT: Fire.

(Soundbite of gunshot)

(Soundbite of song, "Taps")

SIEGEL: Harold Slovik and Colonel Steve Betchert. They're members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War in Springfield, Oregon. The story was produced by Jake Warga.

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