Local man has Civil War poem published in book

In March of 2003, The Daily Herald ran an advertisement for a poetry contest in which Michael Gherrity of Birmingham, PA entered and was selected as a finalist.
His poem titled, Ode to a Civil War Soldier, has been recently selected to be published in the Famous Poets Society poetry book, Today’s Famous Poems, On the Wings of Pegasus.
Gherrity moved to Tyrone from Tucson, Az. in 1971 and attended school in Tyrone, graduating in 1978.
Since 1996 he has worked for Sound Technology Inc., an Ultrasonic Medical Probe manufacturer in State College.
Since 1998, he has been residing with his fiancé, Wendy Patton, in Birmingham. His two children, Shane and Rebecca, reside in Tyrone.
He is a Civil War Reenactor with the 148th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Company C of Centre County.
This was the first time Gherrity ever entered a poetry contest.
“I had always wanted to get my poem noticed, and after a lot of thought and some encouragement from Wendy (his fiancé), I entered the contest,” explained Gherrity.
“A few weeks went by, and I received a letter stating that I was a finalist in the contest and that they wanted to publish my poem.
“I received a second letter stating that they wanted me to come to Florida to receive an award from a famous poet, but I was not able to afford the trip or the time off of work to go. I received the book with my poem in it just last week.”
According to Gherrity, he has been a Civil War enthusiast since he was a young boy living in Arizona. After retiring from a music career in September of 2001, he got the opportunity to become a Civil War reenactor.
In August of 2002, he saw an article in a Centre county newspaper about the 148th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment, Company C out of the State College area.
Gherrity contacted the members and decided to join the regiment, of which he is still active.
He has participated in numerous reenactments from Pennsylvania to Virginia over the last 12 months, including the 140th anniversary Gettysburg event of which there was a film made during the three days that he was there.
“I am hoping to audition for a part as an extra in the upcoming motion picture The Last Full Measure, which is the follow-up to Gods and Generals and Gettysburg,” said Gherrity.
The 148th Regiment has activities all year long, including living histories for the local schools. This past June, the regiment completed an educational event for the Tyrone Elementary school fifth graders at DelGrosso Park.
There is even a winter campout at Black Moshannon State Park every January.
Gherrity has also created a website for the 148th Regiment at’home.html
If anyone in the Tyrone area would like the 148th Regiment to put on a living history/reenactment, contact one of the members.
Occasionally, Gherrity takes people to Gettysburg for a private tour. There are contact numbers on the 148th website.
“This particular poem was written on July 5, 1995 just after a visit to the National Cemetery in Gettysburg. Visiting the grave of Private Patrick Dunn of the 27th Connecticut Volunteers, Company D, I felt some sort of spiritual connection with the man, and I was inspired to write this poem about him,” said Gherrity.
Ode to a Civil War Soldier
You lived a life of a farmer man in your New England home.
Came a “call to arms” from across the land, you knew you had to go.
The Blue and Gray, they took up sides, so you fought for the North.
To preserve the Union at any cost, into battle you marched forth.
The cold-steel musket bullets soared, the ground shook as the cannons roared, the clash of bayonets filled the air.
The bodies all around you fell, for hours on end you fought like hell, sometimes you thought that you were really there.
Blood flowed like water through the fields on that fateful July day,
when you joined your comrades on the ground when a bullet came your way.
The Blue survived, but you did not, and so your body fell, to fight a war in Eternity in a place that they call Hell.
And when the three-day battle ended, the Killer Angels had descended, and took away more than fifty thousand souls.
And now this story’s final words, you met your end at Gettysburg, but in your mind the battle rages on.
And now you lay ‘neath an old elm tree, near where the ghost of Mr. Lincoln speaks, forever restless in Eternity.
And as I stand here looking down, upon this Sacred, Hallowed ground, I weep for you and all who died that day.
As I touch your grave with my fingers, the memory of that War still lingers, which I know will never go away.