Everyone knows him as “the guy in the Civil War outfit.” He walks around Western’s campus in just that – a blue Civil War uniform, complete with a knapsack typical of that era. This is David Plett, an actual person with a name and a story.
David is definitely one of a kind. “I want to be the oddball, do something different,” he said. He was born in Denver and, after moving around, he finally settled in Monmouth during the spring of 2012, declaring himself as a history major with a minor in public policies and administration or, in his words “a fancy form of political science.”
His love of history started when he was young. Growing up with brothers who loved the Civil War, and surrounded by relatives who served in the Navy – four generations, to be exact – David’s passion for history was only naturally nurtured by his surrounding environment.
“I have been a civil war reenactor for 10 years now,” David said. “I’ve been dressing up in weird clothes officially for 10 years. My brothers were involved and once I hit the golden age of 14, I could partake as well.” He added, “Growing up with two older brothers, we were always into military stuff.”
Thus his passion grew, as he not only participated in Civil War reenactments, but also traveled to local elementary schools to educate younger generations about the Civil War and history in general.
“I want to promote the local reenacting community [and] try to get people involved or for them to come and watch,” David said when asked why he wears the Civil War costume on campus. “But ultimately, it’s a passion of mine. It’s a lifestyle of mine that has been fostered by my parents and through my own activity for a long time. If it works don’t’ fix it, you know.”
On a more serious note, David stated, “An important thing for any college student [to know] is that passion is what drives you. You need to have passion to develop your goals.”
David is a man of many talents. When he is not keeping history alive, he can be found in the Werner University Center playing the piano, with most of what he plays being learned by ear or recalled from memory. This talent was also fueled by his family, particularly his sister, who taught him to play. David has raw talent when it comes to music though.
“I know the basics so I can make up the rest,” he said. “A lot of what I play is traditional music; Irish, Americana music especially, it’s a variety. I have hymns, dance tunes; pretty much whatever strikes my fancy I’ll learn to play by ear.”
Hymns are especially important to him, as he is an active member at Faith Lutheran Church in Independence. Outside of reenactments, church and school, David is happily involved with his girlfriend, Amy, who also participates in Civil War reenactments. That is how they met, in fact, and, while having known each other for seven years, they have been together now for about a year.
When asked what he wants to do after he graduates, David said that, “Lord willing,” he wants to carry on the family tradition of joining the Navy and then, after that, “I want to end up working for the National Park Service,” he said.