Essay Contest 2011 Honorable Mention, Junior Entry

Grace von Rudent, 7th Grade

Teacher: Mary Reeck
School: Aquinas Middle School, La Crosse, WI

Preserving 150 Years of History: Secession and the War’s Beginnings

I think that we should preserve our nation’s Civil War battlefields because they remind us of the men who fought to keep our nation united 150 years ago.  When people drive by or walk on the battlefields, they expect to see the battlefield on which their ancestors fought.  They don’t want to see the fields get ruined by people putting a big building on it.  If you have had a family ancestor, or a close friend’s ancestor, in the army or the War, I think you wouldn’t want the battlefields they fought on to get destroyed.

Many of the historical sites include information on what battles took place at that site.  The exhibits help people imagine what the battlefields would have looked like when the brave men were fighting on those fields.  If you went to see one of the grounds, you might see re-enactors setting up how the fighting really happened, and it helps you imagine how cruel the war really was.

In the Civil War, brothers fought against brothers and cousins fought against cousins.  The line-up was shoulder to shoulder, and if one soldier went down the rest had to keep walking forward.  If that soldier was your brother, cousin, or even your best friend, you just had to keep marching forward or walk right over them.  It’s hard for us to imagine the pain and suffering Civil War soldiers had to go through.

Many of the historic sites have reenactments of the specific battles that have occurred there.  We can see how the nurses took care of the wounded and what the hospitals were like from pictures and video clips.  Some of the Civil War sites show where they kept the soldiers when they surrendered or when they got caught by their opponents.  They were kept in prison camps so they couldn’t fight again.  Some of the battlefields are national parks.  National parks are a great place to take family vacations to see what happened there.  It is good for people to know more information about our nation’s history and to see what the brave men fought to preserve.

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