Congratulations, Dr. and Mrs. Richard J. Sommers

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Bruce Venter

Recently, Lynne and I were honored with an invitation to the long awaited nuptials of Dick Sommers and his lovely bride, Tracy. As many of you know, Dick has lived the bachelor life for many years. But one day last year, Tracy came into his life at a Civil War conference and “the rest is history” as they say. Being from California, it was a bi-coastal relationship for Dick and Tracy for a year, but now that’s over. Dick and Tracy will be living together in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Dick and Tracy were married on June 25, in Carlisle where Dick has lived for over 40 years, witnessed by over a hundred relatives and friends. (We don’t see any coincidence between that date and an equally famous historical event in Montana 135 years previous, but the 2011 event will remain every bit as memorable.) The wedding ceremony took place in Dick’s church, the First Presbyterian, a congregation that is 275 years old. Of course, you’d expect a historic occasion to take place in a historic setting. All the arrangements were planned out in meticulous detail by Dick and Tracy. Dick’s best men (his brother, Walter, his friend from 1st grade, Flint Whitlock and his college roommate) all sported Boston Terrier ties, reflecting Dick’s lifelong love of the breed. The vows were finalized by a kiss that would have made Rudolph Valentino blush. Incidentally, the bride and groom’s smooching continued throughout the reception, as guests clicked their glasses to urge the newlyweds into myriad lip locks as though they were teenagers. And Dr. Sommers did not shirk from his duty as the bearded professor grabbed his lovely lady time after time in swooping embraces.

As I said, everything was well planned out by the happy couple. Guests were assigned seating at numbered tables which included the names of famous Civil War generals along with framed photos of the officers and a miniature cannon on each table. Table colors were appropriately red, white and blue, reflecting the couple’s dedication to a patriotic theme. Lynne and I, of course, were seated at the “Judson Kilpatrick” table. Jeff Wert and his wife were at the “Jeb Stuart” table with Will Greene and his wife at the “Horatio Wright” table. You get the picture. Other historians attending were Mr. and Mrs. Jack Davis and Mr. and Mrs. Ted Alexander. Some guests, like Dick’s nephew’s girlfriend came all the way from China. Obviously, it was an event not to miss.

Dick kept the destination of the honeymoon more secret than Kilpatrick’s plan to capture Richmond, even from Tracy who was only told to “bring comfortable shoes.” Sounds like some battlefield tramping might be in store for her. But that’s fine because Dick and Tracy share a common love of Civil War history which obviously makes them soul mates from the start. Hopefully, the General’s Blog will be able to report in a future installment what Dick and Tracy did on their honeymoon (historically speaking.)

This wedding was an occasion not to be missed. Lynne and I sincerely appreciated the opportunity to be included in such an unforgettable event. We wish Dick and Tracy the very, very best in the years ahead!

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