History Night series continues in Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair
You’ve heard stories of the tall young redhead who came from Virginia to the wilds of Western Pennsylvania to start making a name for himself.
So, how did 21-year-old George Washington go from confronting the French military, once resulting in his only surrender, to becoming the guy on the quarter and dollar bill?
Ask Scott Moore. Or better yet, attend the programs on the French and Indian War he is facilitating at the Upper St. Clair and Mt. Lebanon libraries.
He and fellow Upper St. Clair resident Glenn Flickinger – his topic is World War I – are joining for their second year of a series of History Nights, which kicked off with Moore’s Sept. 5 presentation, the first of two parts, on the 1754-63 conflict that shaped the future for the United States.
History Night schedule
At Upper St. Clair Township Library:
• World War I, Part One, Sept. 18
• World War I, Part Two, Oct. 2
• French and Indian War, Part One, Nov. 13
• French and Indian War, Part Two, Dec. 11
At Mt. Lebanon Public Library:
• French and Indian War, Part Two, Oct. 3
• World War I, Part One, Nov. 9
• World War I, Part Two, Dec. 5
Presentations begin at 7 p.m.
“Really, this was the first world war,” he said. “That’s what Winston Churchill called it. And to have it in our own backyard, it seemed like kind of a natural.”
Many of the crucial battles of the French and Indian War took place not far from the South Hills, including the Battle of Great Meadows on July 3, 1754, in what now is Fayette County. Holed up in tiny Fort Necessity against French soldiers dispatched from Fort Duquesne and their Native American allies, Washington was obligated to sign terms of surrender.
“I think Jumonville Glen is fascinating,” Moore said, referencing the war’s first battle, on May 28, 1754. “Most people pass right by it and don’t realize you’re two miles away from it on Route 40.”
Throughout his presentation, audience members frequently offered further insight about the topic, which was by design.
“We’re looking to have interaction,” he explained. “We try to engage the audience. Glenn and I aren’t all-knowing, so we look for feedback. That’s one of the things we want to make a little different, because after a long day, I’m not sure that everybody’s up for a lecture.”
Flickinger and Moore both are history enthusiasts, especially military history, with experience in teaching through work and church. They met when Moore noticed Flickinger reading a book, The Boys in the Boat,” about the U.S. rowing team at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
“I said, ‘Hey, that’s really good,’” Moore recalled. “We started talking, became fast friends, then we started talking about wanting to teach and have a History Night. We were hoping for eight people.”
Instead, the series has been averaging about 50 attendees in Mt. Lebanon and 20 in Upper St. Clair since its start last year with a focus on World War II’s European Theater. The topic in the spring will be the Pacific.
“Part of my interest in World War II and World War I comes from my family,” Flickinger said. “My mom is a Pear Harbor veteran.”
Virginia Flickinger, now 97, is a native of Hawaii.
“She wasn’t there on the Sunday,” Glenn said about Dec. 7, 1941. “She was working as a nurse’s aide at Pearl Harbor Hospital, and she was at home on Sunday. But she went a couple of days after, and worked and cleaned up.”
Other relatives also helped spur his intrigue.
“I had four uncles in World War II, two in Europe and two in the Pacific,” he said, “and I just grew up hearing their stories all the time.”