this year marks the 150th anniversary of the battle of gettysburg, which was a big deal around here though i’m not sure how much it played in the rest of the country. i’m guessing it didn’t play well in the south. in gettysburg the anniversary was marked by a huge re-enactment of the battle that was fought july 1- 4, 1863 and that marked the turning point of the war. between 49,000 and 51,000 men died on those battlefields in 1963. about 15,000 re-enactors participated in the anniversary event.
just the video of 15,000 re-enactors was impressive. i can’t imagine what 51,000 men on those battlefields looked like. i can even less imagine what acres and acres of dead and maimed men looked like.
c and i visited gettysburg a few years ago and were awed by the scope of what happened there. you can feel the ghosts and i don’t believe in ghosts.
seems to me that some people are still arguing the results of the war. or more accurately, some are arguing for the clock to be turned back to a time before the civil war when things were much better. wait. better for whom? the real story of the civil war, that is the story of slavery in america, is being usurped by a discussion of states’ rights in an attempt to sanitize the real reason for the war.
when i was in school, i remember the endless droning on about the battles of the war and the numbers and details that were hard to grasp and even harder to care about. what would have been far more interesting to me was a chronology of the war as i read it recently – the timeline of the movement to outlaw slavery as it moved through each state legislature vs. the population of slaves in america. staggering. it felt like the walk along the vietnam memorial from one end to the apex and how you are suddenly immersed before you know that you moved. the closer the nation came to outlawing slavery, the higher the count of slaves in this nation. no wonder the south wanted to cling to states’ rights.
sometimes people are on the wrong side of history.
Just recently it feels like the civil rights of many groups in this nation are under attack. The attackers justify their reasoning with claiming things have changed or demanding that we adhere to the literal belief in one book in defense of them not changing.
if you’re tempted to whine about the constant talk about civil rights in this nation, take a look at our history and think again. better yet, learn.