Arlene Harris on “Major General John F. Reynolds: Duty – Honor – Sacrifice”
Arlene Harris spoke in first-person format as Catherine (“Kate”) Reynolds, the sister that John F. Reynolds was closest to throughout his life. Presenting information based on Reynolds family letters, as well as military records, “Kate” started by reviewing “her brother’s” early life and education, particularly his experiences in the Mexican War. After explaining how what he learned and accomplished shaped the Code of Honor he would live and die by, she showed how truly dedicated and valuable to his country he was, and how General Reynolds contributed to the Union victory at Gettysburg. Her talk emphasized the last weeks of John Reynolds’s life, leading up to his tragic but heroic death on July 1, 1863.
Arlene has been researching John Reynolds for about 25 years. Her abiding interest in Reynolds is at least partially due to the resemblance she sees between the General and her own brother Paul, who passed away in 1995. She says that the two men were similar in many ways, and she finds that taking care of Reynolds’s grave in Lancaster helps her feel closer to her brother, who was cremated and whose ashes were scattered at sea. Thus she can also can identify closely with Kate Reynolds, and feel both pride in the accomplishments of a beloved brother and grief that he was struck down in his prime.