Hello to our members — current, and prospective!

I want to personally invite you to gather again on September 22, 2021, for the first meeting of our 2021-22 campaign.  With COVID-related systems in place and enough reservations received, we can again meet “back home” at the Royale Orleans Banquet Hall.

ROYALE ORLEANS / 2801 Telegraph Road / St. Louis (Mehlville) MO, 63125
Doors open at 5:30 / cash bar available / a buffet dinner served at 6:30 / guest speaker (Lance Geiger) at 7:30

The cost of dinner is $20.00 for ST CWRT members and $25.00 for non-members.  You can pay at the door with cash, check, or credit card —

Please RSVP by 5 pm, Sunday, September 19th, to:

Our dinner meetings with guest speaker are on the 4th Wednesday of the month.  We meet eight times throughout the year:  September and October, and December through May.  We don’t meet in November to accommodate members’ Thanksgiving plans.  We have no dinner meetings in June, July, or August.

Be assured — Royale Orleans has COVID protocols in place and is following the health guidelines established for restaurants in our area.  There will be fewer people seated at a table, a greater distance between tables, antibacterial sanitizing stations throughout their facility, and the request we social distance and wear a mask unless eating/drinking.  If I learn of changes in requirements or protocols prior to our gathering I will let you know.  For now, however, let’s anticipate a smooth, enjoyable meeting where we meet the first speaker of this campaign.

Known as “The History Guy” on YouTube, Lance Geiger tells forgotten stories of ancient and modern events “that deserve to be remembered.”  His topic for our group will be:

“The Civil War Career of James Burklow, Private in Battery K of the First Illinois Volunteer Light Artillery.”

We can look forward to an entertaining and informative talk from Mr. Geiger — his award-winning channel has had more than 144 million views and is watched by 980,000 subscribers.

For those new to our group … some information about who we are, and why the American Civil War draws us together for learning, discussion, and debate:

Founded in 1957, the Civil War Round Table of St. Louis is a not-for-profit organization of 100-plus members. Understanding that our nation’s past informs and impacts our present, we exist to encourage the study, analysis, understanding, and appreciation of the events, people, records, locations, publications and artifacts associated with the American Civil War. Unlike some history groups, the Civil War Round Table of St. Louis is not a lineage group.  Some of our members descend from Civil War soldiers/personalities, others don’t.

Membership is open to anyone.

In addition to our monthly speaker-meetings, we also have an informal, daytime gathering once per month we call “Little Round Table.”  There is no designated speaker for this meeting; rather, a volunteer leads discussion on a previously selected topic.  We enjoy this format because it allows for in-depth discussion and debate about the causes, realities, and consequences of the Civil War.  Published authors from our group generously share their research, knowledge, and insights.  Little Round Table meets throughout the year on the 1st Thursday of every month. We have lunch, then hang out for a couple of hours to talk.  It’s fun!

Membership in our Round Table assures notice of upcoming topics and events.

Fees are:  $35.00 / single     $50.00 / family     $10.00 / student   

For anyone interested in the American Civil War, the Civil War Round Table of St. Louis is a great resource for learning about the events, people, and importance of a defining time in our country’s history.

“– but history is then and we live now — so why bother to study the Civil War?”

This is a question many of us have heard.

Recently I stumbled across a thoughtful, comprehensive answer to this question.  I’ve abbreviated it — but I urge you to look it up and read it in full form.

(from) ESSENTIAL CIVIL WAR CURRICULUM, “Twenty Good Reasons to Study the Civil War.”
2012,  Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech

By:  John C. Waugh

1. Because it was Unique / 2. Because it was a Watershed in American History / 3. Because it was a War of Firsts / 4. Because it Saved Republican Government / 5. Because it Killed Slavery / 6. Because it Originated New Ways of Waging War / 7. Because it Revolutionized War on the Water / 8. Because it Teaches Us Brotherhood / 9. Because it Showcases Undaunted Courage / 10. Because it Made Heroes / 11. Because it Created a New Industrial America / 12. Because it Produced Men of Fabulous Fortunes / 13. Because it Was a War of Political Oddities / 14. Because it Pioneered a New Journalism / 15. Because it Inspired Great Literature/ 16. Because it Tested Our Faith / 17. Because it is Our Own Direct Tie to the Past / 18. Because it Makes Us Remember / 19. Because it Is Great Drama / 20. Because it Speaks to Us Still.

(In its full form the above offers a detailed explanation for each of the points given.)

I hope all of you had a safe and enjoyable summer — all things considered, right?  Please join us in meeting again on 9/22 — and invite anyone else you think might be interested in what we do, what we offer.  We’re off to a new start here, but with things being as they are, we might need to be flexible, adapt in ways we can’t yet declare for certain.  One step at a time, and we’ll just do the best we can.  Ahead of the unforeseen — thank you for your understanding, and cooperation.

We owe many thanks to President Jim Erwin for his taking on a 3rd term.  It helped everyone and everything that he stayed on, enabled us to smoothly maintain without changing everything.  There’s more we can say about this — and we will do so when we see him at our meeting.  (Beware, Jim:  if our praise and thanks embarrass you, showing this will just encourage us to continue.)

I’m happy to say that over the summer we’ve had some new members sign on.  I look forward to introducing everyone, having you learn some about each one of them, hear what motivated each new member to join us.

A familiar face in a new post is our new Vice President, Bill Watson.  Bill has been a member of our RT for about four years.  He brings to this new term commitment, enthusiasm, ideas, years of knowledge about and interest in the Civil War.  Meeting a couple of times over the summer to exchange ideas, discuss some goals, and get organized for the new term we discovered we work well together.  (We’re gradually styling our Hollywood “Good Cop-Bad Cop” so… watch out, eh?!)

A sincere thanks to:

Gloria is “The People-Counter.”  It can be a staggering task (not to mention really time-consuming) keeping our members’ names list and contacts updated. Gloria finalizes our RSVP list for our dinner meetings — and her tally matters. If we fail to notify her we risk not having enough people to warrant our meeting. We owe her much for her organization — she’s the one watching the calendar dates, sending us the timely reports and reminders we all need to keep going forward.

Curt “The Money Man” Wittbracht pays our bills and keeps our funds flowing in right directions. If you find him mumbling and grumbling it’s just due-dates and numbers racing through his thoughts, competing for his attention.

Gloria and Curt. Be truly appreciative of these two.  Without Gloria we can’t meet… so we don’t greet and we don’t eat.

Without Curt we’d all just be hiding from bill collectors… trying to find that person who took our funds and skipped town for that dreamed-of vacation in Vegas.

Treasurer Sue Petton and Assistant Treasurer, Terry Petton, greet all of us at the door. Affable, smiling, and calm… they are the angels at our entrance gate.  They arrive before others to set up those little details that start everything rolling. They answer your questions, direct traffic, collect dinner fees, then sort it all out for the reporting. Vital, these two. Thank you for all you do.

FATHER VINCENT HEIER sleuths out the speakers we host. Like the George A. Custer he knows so well, Fr. Heier rides forward with determined focus. Travelling (email and phone call) paths nation-wide, he chases down and ropes in THE SPEAKERS WE WANT TO HEAR FROM.  We thank you — “pursuit” can be exhausting.

And — no trivial thing — we thank Assistant Secretary/Trivia Master ED RATAJ.  His assorted trivia questions continually target our knowledge of the Civil War… frustrate our ability to remember everything we ever read or learned about it somewhere.  Good job — and keep going because we need the mental exercise, right?  And hey — we like your (groaner) jokes, too.

Here’s back atcha, ED…

“Such a shame that new restaurant on the moon has failed.  Great food, fantastic view, just… no atmosphere.”

BOARD MEMBERS, 2021-2022:

Jim Molitor / Wayne Truitt / Julie Nicolai / Paul Hauser / Curt Wittbracht / Bob Alexander / Terry Nickolotsky / Barry Rinderknecht

You are a great group of people to know and work with.  Thank you for your insights, ideas, participation, and commitment.  I always look forward to our meetings.  We’ll meet next in January, per our decision to add a third board meeting during our year.

So you know:  I’m looking forward to my term as your new President.  I’ve thought from my first meeting with you that you’re a great group of informed, personable individuals.  I appreciate the harmony evident in our group and I’m proud to be one among you.  I’m still getting to know many of you, but doing so is truly enjoyable. I’ve received words of support and offers of help from many of you — and I thank you.  I welcome your ideas and suggestions at any time.  Let’s just go forward as we can — and here’s hoping we can just have a good time with all of it!

I’m sure I speak for all of us in saying we hope everyone is healthy and happy, coping well with our national health emergency.  We have harsh realities these days — but we know more than many that people in our nation have endured far worse.

2021: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

1861-1865:  “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Except artillery.  Artillery can kill you.”

Wishing You All Well and Good…
and look forward to seeing everyone!

Paula Zalar,