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Civil War buffs married at foot of Burnside Bridge

July 21, 2002|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

Before the vigilant eyes of the 148th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Dave Felice and Debbie Miller wed Saturday at Antietam National Battlefield.

Felice, 43, is a captain in the regiment of re-enactors. Miller, 46, is the civilian coordinator.

They dressed their parts - Felice in a blue military uniform, Miller in a white hoop dress.

Fay Shaffer of Hagerstown - a minister with the Universal Life Church of Modesto, Calif. - summoned 140 years of history as she bound the Civil War buffs in matrimony at the foot of Burnside Bridge.

"We blend today the old with the new, the past with the present and future," Shaffer said during the service. "Lives ended on battlefields, in hospitals and prisons, on this very bridge and in wheat fields in Pennsylvania.

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"Although those lives were ended, the love between spouses and families continues, because God has given us the promise of everlasting life. First Corinthians 13:8 tells us, 'Love never ends,' " Shaffer said.

"The presence and love of those who came before us are here with us at this moment."

Neither bride nor groom doubted how or where they would wed.

On Christmas Eve last year, Felice brought Miller to the bridge and proposed marriage. Miller said she knew something was going to happen because they left their children home.

They met about four years ago at a re-enactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek in Virginia. Miller attended as a member of the Civil War Plymouth Pilgrims Descendants Society, which honors Union soldiers and sailors captured during the Battle of Plymouth, N.C., in 1864.

Miller said that when a friend introduced her to Felice, "I instantly felt like I knew him forever."

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