2015 Essay Contest Third Place, Senior Division

Teresa, 8th grade

Teacher: Ms. Betz
School: Farmwell Station Middle School | Asburn, VA

1864-65: Bringing the War to a Close

Peoples’ lives changed.  200 years ago, there was no true definition to the word “freedom.”  There was no union among the states and the people of the United States of America. Exactly 150 years ago, things started to change.  After years and years of poor souls fighting for their own freedoms, the Civil War is what started a long history of people fighting for their rights, which is now appreciated in the U.S. every single day.  Because of the Civil War, the states in this beautiful country began to sew themselves back together into one, new land.

Scars are disliked.  They are thought to be ugly remnants of a bad time, but they are reminders of what hardships this country has fought through to become the wonderful land it is today.  The battlefields that represent America’s scars represents the virtues that lie within it; from the soldier’s brave hearts that fought to make their beliefs become reality, to the children that grew up witnessing the war who helped better their country in the years to come.  These battlefields serve as an extraordinary piece of history that will always be made available to all peoples around the country, to teach them, to remind them of what our nation has fought through to get this far, and to give them the old spirit of America that only places such as these can give.

In September 1, 1864, Rachel Young wrote, “This has been an eventful year with all the world and with myself and family... Hundreds of battles have been fought and are still being fought in our divided country -- citizens killed and robbed, houses burned and people driven from their homes and God alone knows how or when our troubles will end.”  How would it be for our country’s people to forget the lives of the citizens of America in these changing times, to take away the land they knew, mourned, and fought bravely upon?

Without America’s battlefields, it would be as if you were stripping a person of their scars; their memories. We must remember and prosper the lives our nation has lived before us; the America we truly are.

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