We do not need to revisit and expand our understanding of the many
bloody battles that occurred in that war — a number of which were
waged right here in Virginia. We must step away from the absorbing,
intricate details of military strategy to do a proper accounting of how
that unique war impacted our nation. We must ask: Why did our nation
sacrifice so much blood and treasure in waging a civil war? Historians will disagree on the war's most important legacies. But, surely these three are among the most significant:
1. The end of slavery
2. The preservation of our Union
3. The birth of a historic struggle for civil rights and racial reconciliation.
We accomplished the first two when the war ended. The third,
however, took just short of 100 years before landmark Supreme Court
decisions and new government statutes produced partial fulfillment. So,
now, as we prepare to mark the war's sesquicentennial anniversary, we
must not forget that the war's final chapters are yet to be written.
Check out the Commission's webiste for more information about what is being planned here in Virginia.