I am going to pause my Civil War Sunday post this Sunday due to the events in France this past week.
I have a small personal link to France through family. One of my cousins married a man born in France to a French mother and an American father. I met his mother and sisters when they came from France to the the United States to attend his wedding. The children of that union have visited France to meet their French relatives.
I watched the rally in Paris tonight, live on CNN. I saw the faces of the thousands there, mirroring sadness, fear, exhaustion, and determination. The CNN headline read "Standing with France."
A number of French bloggers have read my posts, and I have read theirs. Through the Internet, we interact with people all over the world every day, and think nothing of it. It's such a different world than the world I was born into 62 years ago.
So, instead of blogging about a Civil War peace initiative, I would like to blog instead about the fickle finger of history.
History has a way of taking ordinary people and thrusting them into the front lines of history. This has happened so many times, and this past week is no exception.
Staff members of a Paris satirical publication. Shoppers in a kosher supermarket. A policeman in the wrong place at the wrong time who died in the line of duty, caught on video. A kosher supermarket clerk who saved upwards of 15 shoppers by hiding them in a freezer.
The events of this week in France, in a strange way, have something in common with the study of the United States Civil War.
When history calls, ordinary people act heroically.
Nothing is ever as clear cut as it seems.
We must not ever give in to fear. And we realize how hard that can be.
Stereotypes are just that, stereotypes, but they can cause immense damage.
And, sadly, a country can be ripped apart by hate. But it can also grow stronger from the struggle to understand and overcome.
And, sometimes we don't know what we had until we have lost it.
In our Civil War, history touched the lives of so many people (I have blogged about some of them and hope to blog about others before the end of March), who may have been unknown to history. But, instead, we study them and learn from their actions.
We in the United States must stand united with the people of France.
Next week, perhaps I will blog about what I intended to blog about this week - a Civil War peace initiative started by a man no longer a household name, but once well known in the United States, and an amazing link this man has with a modern actor once a household name in our country.