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Civil War Trust

2013 Essay Contest Honorable Mention, Senior Division

J'Laan Pittman, 10th Grade

Teacher: Geoff Wickersham
School: Wiley E. Groves High School | Michigan

Preserving 150 Years of History: 1862-1863, Shifting Tides

History is always an important part of life.  By studying our predecessors, we can learn from their mistakes to hopefully avoid ruin.  In the case of our own countries history, we have an opportunity to actually see places where historic battles or occurrences happened.

America’s bloodiest war to date, the Civil War, was fought to free the slaves.  This is a major event not only for its gore but also because it determined the path of the country.   Major battles such as Antietam and Gettysburg were grounds for blood shed; the blood of the countries young men/women who left their families to fight for freedom.  While addressing a crowd in Philadelphia, Lincoln once said, “War at the best is terrible, and this of ours in its magnitude and duration is one of the most terrible the world has ever known...Yet it continues” (Lincoln, 1864).

Without the bravery and sense of duty these soldiers exhibited, who knows where we would be now.  It is only right to honor them with the preservation of key battle grounds.  There are millions of fast food chains and strip malls across the country but we only have a few sacred places to honor those who defended the country.  Not preserving those grounds, we discredit all the soldiers who fought there.  By defacing the area with buildings and concrete, we throw the importance of the Civil War and other battles under the bus.  What would you tell the families of the dead and gone? 

If we can set aside land for national parks, then we can do the same for battle fields.  Forever etched into our history are these battles.  The battles were key in winning the country’s struggle for unity of the people and equality among races.  They are a symbol of what freedom means.  They help to define us.  The country doesn’t need another chain restaurant to aid us in getting fatter or another mall to help us get further into debt.  Why not set aside a little time and money to preserve a symbol of blood, sweat and tears that helped build America into what it is today.

Works Cited

Lincoln’s opinion on the civil war. "American Civil War Memorial." American Civil War Memorial. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2013.

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