John Hennessy Leads the Way

I so wish I could be in Fredericksburg, Virginia this weekend to take part in events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the famous battle and the war in 1862.  I’ve been following events through my preferred social networks, but this video captures what remembering the war should be all about.  John Hennessy is the chief historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  No one that I know personally thinks more deeply about what it means to do public history and how best to steer the general public through the many landmines of Civil War memory.  Even through video John’s passion for history and commitment to engaging the entire community is palpable.

No doubt, we all glean something different from such a message, but I am reminded that how we remember as a community often reflects boundaries that we would do well to overcome.

11 comments… add one
  • Diana M Rhodes Jul 10, 2015 @ 11:44

    Rompson’s comments are ridiculous. Mr Hennessy has shared historically accurate and
    Intellectually sound information. When people are not willing to admit the mistakes america has made, such as our shameful legacy of slavery, those people tend to claim that those citizens or experts stating facts are socialists or communists, etc. It is totally uninformed and ignorant to do so !

  • Rompson Mar 15, 2015 @ 15:42

    Hennessey and Levin are exactly what is wrong with historians and the park service today. Their progressive (rather regressive) cultural Marxist upbringing and historical revisionism is fed to the unsuspecting student or curious history buff. This is why the national park service guards the questions that are required to become a Park Service ranger like Marx guarded his communist manifesto. One must become a disciple of Saul Alinsky in order to become a ranger, This is why they guard the test questions so vigorously. It is a shame that Hennessey is trying to lead the way…the way to historical revisionism and changing our nation from a Constitutional Republic to failed ideologies known as Socialism and Marxism…. neatly wrapped up and now called Progressivism.

    • Kevin Levin Mar 15, 2015 @ 15:43

      I absolutely love this comment. Thanks for taking the time to leave it.

      • Jimmy Dick Mar 16, 2015 @ 9:06

        It has all the references in it. Revisionism, Marxism, regressive, progressive. The only missing word was communism. I love how revisionism is somehow supposed to be wrong. It’s like the past or anything else for that matter must be locked into stone, unchanging for all time. People like this poster would be whining about Model A Ford’s whizzing by their horse and buggies a century ago.

  • Veritas Dec 12, 2012 @ 14:38

    Blah blah blah blah blah. . . . Kevin please don’t bother the South no more desires your presence than Mr. Hennessy’s utopian rant of what makes this a great nation.

  • Bryan Cheeseboro Dec 12, 2012 @ 12:04

    My family and I were in Fredericksburg this past weekend. Actually, we never made it to Fredericksburg, proper; instead, we got as far as Falmouth and the Union encampment. This was actually a real treat for me. I’ve been to Fredericksburg a couple of times before but never saw things from the Union perspective.

    While in the Union Camp, I met the reenactors of Company A, US Engineer Battalion. !st Sergeant Raymond Ball was very informative and told me that to be in the Army of the Potomac’s Engineers, a man had to be able to read and write to demonstrate competence or else they were not needed. Hearing this made me think of the claim made by Hari Jones about the 54th Massachusetts… that the 54th was the most literate regiment in the Union army. I know the real 54th was much more like the character of Thomas Searles than Trip but were they more literate than the Engineers?

  • bummer Dec 10, 2012 @ 5:30

    Bummer’s take on the video is not defined, Mr. Hennessey, as a public servant, has guide lines that he has to follow. No doubt his presentation is sincere and impressive, however several of his remarks are contrary to the reality of Civil War memory and could be misleading to the uninformed. Good view, Kevin, thanks,


    • Kevin Levin Dec 10, 2012 @ 8:33

      Which remarks specifically do you take issue with? Thanks.

      • bummer Dec 10, 2012 @ 11:48

        Bummer isn’t taking issue with any specific comments, rather Mr. Hennessey addressing everyone’s take on history. Following Levin’s path on the truth, rather than trying to please everyone, Bummer has learned that the truth follows a straight and narrow road. Some folks have a hard time changing their attitudes on the History that they have perceived as true and righteous for an entire lifetime.


        • Jazzeum Dec 10, 2012 @ 17:39

          I don’t think he’s saying there are many truths but many ways in which events are perceived. Lincoln had a story about liberty and the wolf and how each sees liberty which seems apropos here.

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