Paul Arnold is on a quest. He is on a quest for history.
“The earliest thing I can remember my Dad saying to me was, ‘Lee surrendered to Grant’,” Arnold said. “I would say it over and over in my head so that I’d know the next time he asked. Dad and Uncle Larry (Arnold) were very active in grooming me for history.”
Both his dad and uncle were active in the local chapter of Sons of Confederate Veterans in the Bootheel. He can trace his family tree to several ancestors who fought in the war, and has researched the battles they fought and he has visited the sites.
“I was making speeches to the Sons of Confederate Veterans by the time I was 12 or 13,” he recalled. “Dad took me to all the battlefields and historic sites in the area. He always went out of his way to expose me to as much history as possible.”
Re-enacting Civil War action was also a part of the Arnold household, with Paul beginning to participate in re-enactments when he was about 11 years old. But the father-son activity was more than just history.
“We started re-enacting when I was about 11 or 12,” he recalls. “It turned out to be a good hobby to keep our minds moving forward. My sister was killed in a car accident in 1992, and that will really test the bonds of a family. Re-enacting became an escape.”