Third Place, Senior Essay Contest 2010
Jessica Whitmore, 10th Grade
Teacher: John Ambrosio
School: Chambersburg Area Senior High School: Chambersburg, PA
"Take Action: Save Civil War Battlefields"
Action must be taken now to preserve our nation's Civil War battlefields. During the Civil War era, the United States was a complex society of a great multitude of different heritages and cultures. Many of these new immigrants were looked down upon simply because of the language they spoke or the religion they practiced. At the time of the Civil War, our nation was not only divided North to South, but also suffered internally due to biased stereotypes. The Civil War changed everything! The Civil War brought together people from every background and united them together for one cause, as one army, as one nation, as Americans. At this point the United States truly became "The Land of the Free." Now, every man was equally given freedoms, and every man equally deserved those freedoms.
Now in the twenty-first century, we can still easily become blinded to the value of our diversity, which greatly diminishes our sense of community. Regardless of our backgrounds, the Civil War was one of the only things that truly brought us together as a people. The Civil War unites us not just because of who fought, but where they fought: a field of boulders in a small Pennsylvania town, a mountain one thousand feet above the Tennessee River, near a small pacifist church in Maryland, on the mighty Mississippi. Our Civil War battlefields are as different as our backgrounds. However, they all intertwine together to serve as "the crossroads of our being."* It would be incredibly disrespectful and ignorant for us to destroy their sacrifice to build strip malls and housing developments. Our common community bond would be lost forever. The Civil War preserved our nation; therefore, our nation should preserve the Civil War. We must take action now to preserve our nation's Civil War battlefields.
* Source: Foote, Shelby. "Men at War." Interview by Ken Burns. The Civil War. PBS. Television.