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Posted: September 15, 2012 7:31 p.m.

Local shares love of Civil War

Anastasia Graves /

Austin Alridge, of Covington, shared Civil War artifacts with students at Heard-Mixon Elementary School.

The fifth-grade classroom at Heard-Mixon Elementary School gazed in awe, as they were shown numerous artifacts from the Civil War. Some chimed in, while the teachers called out classroom rules of using your inside voice, while others sat, not confused or uninterested, but waiting to see what would be shown next.

A man of astute character, with an abrupt Southern accent that kept everyone's attention, stood in front of the students Friday.

Austin Alridge's meekness and witty personality kept the children interested as he demonstrated how Civil War soldiers wore war jackets and showed innovations of the Civil War, some of which were rifles passed down from family members of his own.

He also brought flags, knives, a fiddle, a sword, a uniform and other artifacts. The children also got to taste some food from the era.

Aldridge, a Covington resident, developed a relationship with the Civil War before he was born.

Descendent's of his own family were indentured servants, and his great-great-great-grandfather was a war veteran.

"I love history and the idea of history," he said.

Alridge, a '91 Newton County High School graduate also spoke about the history of Newton County to students.

He has spoken to students at Heard-Mixon Elementary School for the past five years, but began the intellect of motivational speaking shortly after graduating from Mercer University and Georgia College and State University.

Alridge said he feels it is his duty to engage the youth in war facts and said some do not know the true detrimental affect the war has taken on the nation.

"If we don't learn from history, we are doomed," he said.

Alridge's love for history keeps him busy sharing his knowledge with the younger generations, teaching them how history shapes their future.

Aldridge said he hopes the world can disdain itself of what has set it back for centuries, and make revolutionary change.

"First things first is to look how far we've come, but second is to also continue to give back," he said.

 

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