Monday, April 11, 2011

150 Years

For those of you who may not know, tomorrow marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War. If you didn't know that, it is also likely that you didn't know I love the Civil War. Obsessed. I used to have a giant poster of Abraham Lincoln in my bathroom. Creepy obsessed.

I find it fascinating that a country so young, so experimental, so revolutionary, could put brother against brother for four bloody years. I also think it is amazing how inconsistent the reasons for the war were and are. Was it slavery? Or state's rights? Or simple pride? I have read stories of Southerners who didn't even own slaves fighting their family in the North simply because they felt they had to defend their state's honor.

In many ways these ideas seem so foreign to us now. But 150 years is not a long time. When my dad was born there were still Civil War veterans alive. I have been to many of the battlefields and I will tell you, it is eerie how recent it all seems. I could only stand in the bloody road at Antietam for a few minutes before my mind starting tricking me into thinking that the grass was blood stained. I have been to Gettysburg where North Carolinians rushed Union soldiers by running across an empty field towards a single tree. They were shot down before they could even get close. But the tree. It's still there.

I read an interesting article today on that parallels current events with what was occurring politically at the start of the Civil War. In so many ways we are still feeling the effects of our history today. I've lived in North Carolina most of my life and I love to call my friend from Maryland a Yankee. She has to tell me that Maryland was a split state, which I of course tell her is even worse than being a Yankee. At least my state picked a side. It is times like this that my dad has to remind me that our ancestors lived in Tennessee, but fought for the Union. How mixed up and crazy and interesting.

If you don't know a lot about the Civil War, take some time this week to read up on it. Or if you do know a lot about it, share your knowledge with someone. "Like" our page on Facebook here and leave me a post! I'd be happy to tell you everything I know.

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