#TeamPeirs is getting ready to travel to France and Belgium. We are able to undertake another trip to follow in Jack’s footsteps because of the generosity of friends, family, and Gettysburg College alumni. Since student learning is fundamental to the work we do with the Peirs papers, we are looking forward to bringing our current project intern, Meghan O’Donnell, who, in addition to updating and adding content to the site for the past two years, speaks French! Fortunately, we are also able to involve another student. Jesse Campana is a senior History major with minors in Public History and Civil War Era Studies. He has long-running interests in living history and war memory.
Jesse recently participated in a large living history event that brought nearly 300 individuals from around the world to Normandy to commemorate and interpret the actions of the 2nd Armored Division in 1944. He had the opportunity to portray an American soldier on the exact ground, in the same clothing, doing the same things that he would have done during the invasion – 73 years to the day that it happened.
Although often interpreting the Second World War, Jesse is well versed in the Great War and the letters written by Jack Peirs. He has used Jacks letters and the website in two classes while at Gettysburg to explore what the personal endeavors and day-to-day lives of First World War participants were.
While in France and Belgium, Jesse will be responsible for much of our logistical planning – finding the locations that we want to visit – the precise locations where Jack fought. In preparation for the trip Jesse is analyzing trench maps and Jack’s account of the 1918 Spring Offensive. We are excited to have Jesse along for the ride and are looking forward to discovering more about Jack’s experiences with him.
After graduation in May, Jesse plans to return home to New Jersey to work for the state Department of Parks and Forestry while completing the requirements and certification to become a secondary school teacher.