There really is esprit de corps among the Color Bearers. It is everything we hoped it would be and intended it would be — a group of dedicated generous people who really care about the mission and like each other.
Jim Lighthizer, Color Bearer
Jim and Gloria Lighthizer
American Battlefield Trust: Tell us a little bit about the Color Bearers, and why you decided to join as one yourself.
Jim: The idea for the Color Bearers was born in 2002 or 2003. It came from a well-respected historical preservation organization which had an elite group of supporters with a minimum annual gift of $5,000. We created the Color Bearers with the threshold of $1,000, since we didn’t think we could get $5,000!
I was the president of the organization, and the one announcing the program, so I thought I should join. And I did join – with my own money. I’ve been a Color Bearer ever since.
What do you enjoy most about being a Color Bearer?
I enjoy seeing other Color Bearers. We have a wonderful group of guys and gals. There really is esprit de corps among the Color Bearers. It is everything we hoped it would be and intended it would be— a group of dedicated, generous people who really care about the mission.
Our Color Bearers get along well. It has become almost a social group along with a dedicated organized effort for philanthropy. Our Color Bearers know each other and look forward to seeing each other. I feel the same way about them. It is a sort of reunion, to get together periodically throughout the year with people that think like you do and have the same interests, and, personally, you like.
What is your favorite battlefield?
Antietam. It’s extremely well-preserved – one of the best-preserved National Park Service battlefields. It’s so serene. It’s also historically extremely significant, probably more important than Gettysburg. The Battle of Antietam was a huge, horrific battle, historically significant in part because of the terrible carnage but most importantly because of what it accomplished: The Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation changed the rules of the game, particularly for foreign powers.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I’ve been lucky enough to go all over the world. I’ve been to Australia and New Zealand before, but I’d like to take my wife. Sydney is the most impressive city in the world that I’ve been to, for its quality of life, beauty, transportation system and the way it functions, and its people.
If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be?
That’s a good question. If I can only choose one, it would be Abraham Lincoln. If I could choose two it would be Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. If I could choose three it would be Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Nathan Bedford Forrest. I’d just like to chat with them and see what makes them tick. Lincoln in particular, because I think he was an open guy, and humorous. He didn’t take himself too seriously. He’s a fascinating figure in American history.
Anything else you want to share?
I wish there were more of me. Color Bearers, that is. It’s a good group, the most important single reason for our success. We owe them an awful lot. They changed the game for us, giving over half the money and this business is all about money. I have a lot of friends and a lot of buddies, and I’m so grateful.
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