Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Somber Thursday

One week ago today, I woke up, did exercises, made my lunch, got dressed, and turned on my computer.  Seeing that "Charleston shooting" was trending, I clicked on the link and was plunged into a moment which has lasted all of this week.

But I am so far removed from the reality that has touched the lives of an entire community in Charleston, South Carolina, a city that I dearly love yet have never lived in.

I don't know anyone directly affected.

I have no family in Charleston.

Yet, day after day, I have seen events and have wondered:  will our country finally have the courage to face truths that haven't truly been faced in 150 years?  Even people who have little understanding of our Civil War are taking sides in this seeking and reacting that is taking place before our eyes.  Events and opinions change by the hour.  It would be something difficult to describe to my foreign readers.  I hope they will bear with me in the coming days.

All I can do right now is watch the news as so many of us struggle to understand. (I hope to blog more about this on Sunday.) 

I don't often publish my personal opinions on my blog.  I am a teller of history stories. I don't want to have opinion distract from the history stories I am trying to tell.

I don't have a direct link to the U.S. Civil War.  Both sides of my family emigrated to the United States in the early 20th century, years after the Civil War was over.  No one in my family ever owned slaves or fought in that war on either side.

Yet I, a Northerner (native of New York City), lived parts of my life in three former (or maybe not so former?) Confederate states:  Florida, Arkansas, and Texas.  I've visited both South Carolina and Georgia several times in recent years (along with North Carolina, still another former Confederate state).

In fact, I visited both Columbia, South Carolina (the city so in the news for the Confederate flag still flying on the capital grounds while a murdered state legislator of color lies in state in the building where he served - a building my spouse and I toured in March) and Charleston.  In March, my spouse and  I walked on the college campus where one of the murdered women worked.  For all I know, I passed her on the street.

While in South Carolina this past March (Columbia, Camden and Charleston), my spouse and I discussed the Civil War with several residents.  I was shaped by my upbringing and these South Carolinians by theirs.  Listening is not the same as agreeing.

Sadly, events have proved me right.  The Civil War is still being fought.  But for now, it is time to remember the dead and honor them.

Let us pause and remember the murdered, as the funerals begin. 

On Sunday, I will blog more about this in my Civil War Sunday post.  Maybe it will be just a photo collage of the city I have grown to love over four visits in five years, including some places recently in the news. 

As the saying goes, we live in interesting times.


  1. My background is similar to yours, a northerner whose grandparents came here in the early 20th century, with no personal connections to the Civil War or the events in Charleston. My first thought was "Is it really 2015, this kind of news sounds like 1965." How could anyone of good heart not react to that kind of hatred, to kill innocent worshippers in their church? How do you not react to such hatred?

  2. It's desperately sad that people still can't accept each other. I hope some change is wrought by the unfolding events.

  3. Charleston was an incident that rocked us to the core. Sadness doesn't even begin to describe the pain. Thank you for being so vulnerable to share your thoughts.

  4. Hi Alana,
    Good post and very sad........I just do not understand why someone would do that......Yes, I do agree we certainly live in very interesting times :) I do enjoy reading your posts on the Civil War, always very interesting thank you!

  5. When will these sorts of events stop?

  6. To night at dinner on the radio (NPR) they was talking about some genealogy show. And some one want edit out that his family own slaves...I've done enough genealogy and haven't yet ran into any of my family owning slaves.
    But I have had ancestor serve in the civil war on the union side. ..but I haven't lost hope in people kind.

    Coffee is on

  7. It is so difficult to understand why we are still in this place. still. after all these years.

  8. My heart mourns for the families of the victims. How terrible to commit murder but even more terrible to have committed it in a sacred space where we come to find peace and safety! I cannot even begin to comprehend such deep seated racism. Thanks for posting about this and for sharing your experiences in the South.


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