During much of 2011-2015, I had a Civil War Sunday on my blog. Although I can not call myself a (United States) Civil War "buff", the story of that war has fascinated me for years.
Now, our country is divided in ways it hasn't been for years. It is time, perhaps, to remind us of a time over 150 years ago, when things seemed hopeless.
Civil War Sunday - Christmas Bells (from 2013)
Unlike the people of 1863, I know what is to follow. As horrible a turn as the Civil War took in 1863, it was not going to get any better. Here were some of the horrors to come, that December of 1863.
Civil War prison of war camps such as Camp Douglas, Elmira, Ft. Sumter (better known as Andersonville) plus events such as the Battle of Ft. Pillow, Spotsylvania Court House and the Bloody Angle, and Sherman's March to the Sea. I asked myself if I should I give up, knowing the horrors to come, and leave the writing to the historians and the true Civil War buffs?
What helped me decide? A Christmas carol written in 1863 that I never realized, until this year, had a connection to the Civil War. The Christmas carol is called "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day".
The poem the song is based on is "Christmas Bells", written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. His son Charles had been seriously wounded in a Civil War skirmish in late November,1863. This poem is the anguished result.
Tragedy was no stranger to Longfellow.
Longfellow wrote, in part:
"And in despair I bowed my head;Longfellow could not withdraw from the tragedy of the Civil War, a tragedy that still echoes in our United States 150 years later.
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
And yes, Longfellow's son Charles survived his injuries, and the war.
Here are two versions - if you will, a mini Battle of the Singers. First, Frank Sinatra, from 1964.
Next, Harry Belafonte, from 1958.
Which do you like better?
This song gives us hope - we have survived hard times before, and will again.
Linking to #MondayMusings at Everyday Gyaan.