Sunday, January 11, 2015

Civil War Sunday - Thrust into History

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.


  1. We can learn so much from history. It's so true what they say - that history repeats itself. What I don't understand is why we can't learn from all of that history and stop these needless acts of violence from happening. I know that sometimes I am naive. Wouldn't it just be nice to live in peace.

    1. I agree peace is a goal for humanity - I fear, though, it will never happen, given the nature of humanity. In every generation we must learn the lessons of history, over and over again.

  2. I agree it would be great to live in peace, I have lost many of friends on tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and it will continue to be so until we start to learn from history

    1. I totally agree. I have co workers whose sons/daughters have served in Iraq/Afghanistan. Too many of us do not pay attention to the lessons of history.

  3. I have been to France several times and have spent this past year in horror each time I hear of the violence overtaking it. This is a continuation of the violence we saw outside of the synagogues last year. There is an element that has been imported to France over the past decade that has no desire for peace. It breaks my heart.

    1. I have never been to France but I value your eyewitness comments. It would break my heart, too. We just do not learn the lessons of history.

  4. Hey Alana- I love France and have also been there three times.
    Like I've said previously, I really enjoyed history at school.

  5. It has been a heartbreaking week. Thank you for this thoughtful post.

  6. Very good points. I have many ill feelings toward the French due to history and traveling to some various parts. But others are wonderful and I don't feel that "animosity". Regardless, we are both countries striving toward the same ultimate goal and it is so wonderful to see the world unite for the good of the common man. Together, we can achieve anything and its a shame we can't bottle that feeling up and ride it until the middle east situation is broken and peace can be an outcome. Thanks for your nice post. ;)

  7. Good post. One of my daughters used to work for a publisher who was threatened by extremists so I was very disturbed by what happened.

  8. Such a slew of sad events. It would be great if the world would be a macro of the microcosm of our world-wide blogging community, in peace and love. <3

  9. Thank you for giving attention to the events here in France. They have made me think about the many other horribly violent events that take place all over the world, every day. Yet I feel uplifted by having participated in the march in my town. If only some good could come from all of this...


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