Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about the intersection of 9-11 and Civil War remembrance. It started with a post on the subject and that led to two newspaper interviews. An Associated Press article on 9-11 that I was recently interviewed for gave me the opportunity to explore the subject a bit further. It will be published at some point soon. A couple of days ago I decided to write it up as an editorial and the History News Network agreed to run it. You can read it here if interested. Thanks again to HNN for agreeing to publish it. My thoughts are with the families and friends of those who were lost on 9-11.
It’s always nice to have a decent writing session given how rare they are for me. I am close to finishing up a magazine article that explores how veterans from Massachusetts framed the war in what I would like to think were fairly local places. For example, I am looking at private reminiscences, unit histories, some G.A.R. events, and monument dedications as opposed to more high profile events such as reunions between Confederate and Union veterans and other public events involving political leaders and other national figures. It seems to me that when you focus on the former there are far fewer expressions of reunion and reconciliation. In fact, you will find some powerful examples of individuals who explicitly see themselves as standing up against the broader trend of reconciliation that had taken hold by the beginning of the twentieth century. This is a narrative that has all but been lost in a collective memory that prefers stories of former enemies embracing one another at Appomattox and beyond. I haven’t decided where I am going to send it, but I hope you have a chance to read it at some point soon.
This guest post is by Adam Arenson, assistant professor of history at the University of Texas at El Paso and author of The Great Heart of the Republic: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War, about the Civil War Era as a battle of three competing visions — that of the North, South, and West. More at http://adamarenson.com. This is the fourth in a series.
On many Civil War battlefields, all that is left is the land. For battlefield enthusiasts, just looking at the terrain can evoke the battle, the movement of the units, the decisions of the commanders, and the experience of the soldiers, and perhaps even the war’s greater meaning.
I am forwarding this announcement to all of you in the Boston area who teach k-12 history. This is a great opportunity for professional development in the area of Civil War history. Boston has an incredibly rich history and here is your chance shape it for your classroom during the Civil War’s 150th anniversary. I’ve been involved as a presenter so I know firsthand how valuable this experience can be. It’s an opportunity to hear dynamic speakers, tour some of the area’s important historic sites, and best of all it’s a great networking opportunity. Here is the announcement:
This October 8-9, the Civil War Trust will host another of its popular Teacher Institutes in Boston, Massachusetts. The Institute is a two-day professional development for K-12 educators focused exclusively on the American Civil War and its relationship to Massachusetts. The professional development is free, thanks to Connecticut-based touring company Tauck, but space is limited to 50 attendees. Teachers who attend are treated to outstanding workshops led by educators specializing in the history of the Civil War and instructional strategies for teaching the War; a hard copy of the Trust’s Civil War Curriculum complete with 27 lesson plans, including all associated worksheets and a disk with all digital materials; a tour of the Black Heritage Trail, led by the National Park Service; a tour of Fort Warren, led by the National Park Service; Continuing Education Units; breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the first day, as well as breakfast on the second day; a Seven Day Link Pass and, best of all, two wonderful days in historic Boston! There are still spaces available but they will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis, so sign up now! Click here for more information.
As we begin the new school year I strongly encourage school administrators to think carefully about who they bring in from the outside to educate their students. Case in point. This past May the Major George B. Erath 2679, United Daughters of the Confederacy, presented a program to Dublin 8th graders about Texas in “The War Between the States.” They actually ask the kids to sing “Dixie” at the end of the presentation. Our kids deserve better. On the other hand I appreciate the fact that this school is reaching out to its senior citizen community. All the research shows that it is crucial that regular physical and mental activity is essential to maintaining one’s overall health as we get older.