2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War.
We as Americans can never forget The Civil War …
… and frankly, it’s not something that we should ever want to forget.
On April 12th, 1861, the firing commenced on Fort Sumter in the harbor at Charleston, SC. While no one died in the fighting that day, it was the beginning of the violence that would eventually claim over 600,000 American lives.
Almost exactly 4 years later, on April 18, 1865, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston met under a flag of truce with Union General William T. Sherman at Durham Station near Greensboro, NC to surrender his command officially ending hostilities.
The fact that this was actually a number of days after the more well-known surrender by Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House in Virginia is not as important as the fact that at long last, the brutal affair was finally over.
Tomorrow will mark the beginning of and drawn out observance of the war that will last for the next four years.
National Park officials and others involved in historic reenactments and the myriad activities geared toward educating us as to what happened, helping us to remember why it happened, and to hopefully sensitize us so that it can never happen again … are quick to point out the distinction between observing the Civil War anniversary and celebrating it.
This is certainly an important distinction.
Very few will find any particular reason to celebrate The Civil War. Exactly how we as individuals approach the idea of “observing” what amounted to a national tragedy of epic proportions will certainly vary.
While recognizing those who suffered, those who fought, and those who died, participants in the observance are only too aware of the continued controversial baggage the period in our national heritage carries to this day.
We as Americans should never forget The Civil War …
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