2013 Essay Contest Third Place, Junior Division

Aaron Pape, 5th Grade

Teacher: Joan Simard
School: East Auburn Community School | Maine

Preserving 150 Years of History 1862-1863, Shifting Tides

“If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree I would spend 6 to sharpen my ax.” -- Abraham Lincoln                          

We need a reason to erase the scars and tears of the wives, when their  husbands never returned to their families, or sons did not come home.  And there we go, wiping it away, and how are we to do that?  They fought for this country, “till blood soaked the ground.”  We need to tell the story of this nation, and to tell sorrows of this nation.  We need to remember the sacrifice. We need to preserve the history that is found on these historic battlefields.

Antietam, the bloodiest day of the war, both sides of the battle suffered gravely in battle.  Muskets burst, cannon fire rained down upon troops of south and north.  Antietam Creek was held by the north during the incoming rebellion. Postponing the invasion of the north, this battle was later thought to have “saved” the nation.  General Longstreet proved to be a worthy opponent and fought fiercely over the small creek, and lost more than half of his invasion in the battle for this creek. General McClellan did not follow the fleeing rebellion and he was later fired.

We look at what the men did to take that creek.  And every other battle of the Civil War, like Shiloh, Atlanta, and Bull Run.  I think that they died for a reason. They died to have a county that is not divided by a line between free states and slave states, but free all the way though, from the Atlantic  to the Pacific and everything in between.  That is why  preserving history  is  important to this nation.  If we are to have a sharp ax, we must take time to sharpen it by learning the lessons of our past, each battle of the war sharpens the ax to turn the tide for the country we love today.  We must sharpen our sense of history to be prepared.

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