I think all of you are well aware that I greatly appreciate the time you take out of your day to comment on my posts. In many cases you spend a significant amount of time to insure that your comments are clear and to the point. By far my favorite comments are those that challenge me to rethink specific issues or to work harder to clarify my position. In response to yesterday’s post on the Wilderness and WalMart, however, I can’t tell whether my readers are having difficulty following my thinking on this issue over time or my commitment to battlefield preservation itself. I am getting the sense that it more of the latter.
It’s difficult to know what more I could say to satisfy some of you. If I woke up yesterday morning and had posted a simple condemnation of WalMart, like everyone else in the Civil War blogosphere, all would be fine, but because I fail to toe the party line there is a lingering doubt. Dimitri Rotov’s recent post also deviates from the standard line of thought, but I don’t doubt for a minute his commitment to preserving our Civil War battlefields.
Let me remind all of you of a few things that have apparently been so easily forgotten. From the beginning of the life of this blog I have maintained a strong commitment to the mission of the National Park Service. While others condemned Gettysburg Superintendent, John Latschar for every problem under the sun, I made it a point to remind my readers of his commitment to restoring some of the battlefield’s most important view sheds. In addition, I can’t think of anyone else in the blogosphere or elsewhere for that matter who has gone further in supporting the NPS’s commitment to properly interpreting Civil War battlefields. This past December I was asked by Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Superintendent, John Hennessy, to deliver the keynote address for the 146th anniversary of the battle. In my talk I discussed the importance of these battlefields to our civic life as well as their importance as educational tools. Every year I bring students to one of Virginia’s battlefields. All of them walk away with a unique and invaluable perspective and a few of them are truly moved by what they experienced. Finally, I signed the CWPT’s petition that was sent to WalMart back in October. What more can I say about my position on battlefield preservation?
May I be so bold as to suggest that compared to many of you who are having difficulty with my position, I’ve done much more to insure the continued life of these important historic sites.