Letter to Historians Regarding Wilderness Walmart Controversy
Today I received a mailing from the Civil War Preservation Trust asking me to sign an enclosed statement addressed to Lee Scott, President and CEO of Walmart. It looks like I have been included in a group of historians asked to voice their concern about the proposed Walmart supercenter on the Wilderness Battlefield. I don't know why I am being included, but perhaps it has to do with my previous posts on the subject [and here]. Anyway, I approve of the statement and plan to sign and mail it tomorrow. Here is a short excerpt:
As a historian, I feel strongly that the Wilderness Battlefield is a unique historic and cultural treasure deserving of careful stewardship. Currently only approximately 25 percent of the battlefield is protected by the National Park Service. If built, this Walmart would seriously undermine ongoing efforts to see more of this historic land preserved and deny future generations the opportunity to wander the landscape that has, until now, remained largely unchanged since 1864.
The Wilderness is an indelible part of our history, its very ground hallowed by the American blood spilled there, and it cannot be moved. Surely Walmart can identify a site that would meet its needs without changing the very character of the battlefield.
There are many places in central Virginia to build a commercial development, there is only one Wilderness Battlefield. Please respect our great nation's history and move your store farther away from this historic site and National Park.