Sunday, September 16, 2012

Civil War Sunday - Playing At War

War isn't make-believe.

I am down in Maryland visiting the South Mountain battlefield, (actually, scattered between two Maryland state parks and some sites on private land) and also, the Antietam battlefield for the 150th anniversary of  these battles.

Antietam was the bloodiest one day in U.S. Civil War history.  South Mountain is less well known, but was important in its own ways.

Yesterday, I went to the Antietam reenactment, about 2 miles from the actual battlefield.  It was very well put on (I thought) despite the large traffic jam to get in - and one thing they did impressed me very much.  (No pictures - sorry - I can't upload thanks to a balky internet connection.  Ah, travel....)

They (several times) honored the vets in the audience.  They honored a soldier just home from deployment and his two children, picked from the audience.  And they made the point, over and over, that war is not play. They don't put on the reenactments to entertain, but rather to teach.

I don't think I have ever been to a Civil War reenactment that has glorified war, but this one really brought the point home.

And today, I am linking this commemoration of battle in our United States 150 years ago as we fought for the survival of our Union (yes, I am a Northerner) with what is happening to one of my cousins.  My relative serves our country in the Foreign Service in an embassy in a country I will not name.  I blogged about this earlier this week in my post "Half a World Away". (I'm not linking, again, due to said internet problems.)  For what it is worth, this relative was born in a former Confederate state and grew up in a state that stayed with the Union.

But, we are all one, and I would like to tell the world we are one, despite our sometimes very verbal differences - especially in a Presidential election year.

My relative, after today, will be a little closer to home as this relative is being evacuated.  The embassy, let's just say, is a little the worse for wear.  Where it is is not in a state of war, but there has been war in several directions.

It seems a bit strange, visiting long-ago battlefields when a relative is in danger.  But I have to remember the lesson of the reenactors - they do not play at war.  Their business is serious, and it is to teach us the horrors of war and hate.  My relative is learning it first hand - hopefully I will never have to.

So, I would like to be lazy today and have a fellow blogger write my blog as things other than the Civil War are on my mind.  Well, not exactly writing for me.  I would love to introduce you to one of many fine Civil War blogs, John Banks' Civil War Blog. 

The John Banks blog contains a wealth of information about Antietam.  

Another blog of note about Antietam is one called Virtual Antietam.  I hate to call battlefields 'beautiful' but Antietam is a beautiful battlefield.  This will be my second visit there.

I hope to be able to bring you a current post in the very near future, Internet willing.
In the meantime, dear relative, stay safe.

1 comment:

  1. Good point Alana. We often glorify war but the reality of it is so harsh. I have never witnessed it first hand but my sweetie watches ALOT of documentaries. Especially WWII where capturing war on film is coming of age. It is NOT pleasant viewing. Perhaps more should watch and perhaps be less eager to engage?

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