Essay Contest 2012 Honorable Mention, Junior Entry

Grace Langeberg, 7th Grade

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

Preserving 150 Years of History: The 1861-1862 the War Commences

Urban sprawl is destroying many of the most important pieces of American history. The Civil War tore apart our country, but after it was over we were more united. It’s a tragedy that our country cares so much about production and industry that we are forgetting about the men who gave their lives for freedom for their beliefs. I believe that in order for us to step forward we need to preserve our roots. What do you think the people who fought on Civil War battlefields would say if they saw a giant Walmart sitting on the ground were they had struggled? I think they would be disappointed that we have such carefree throw away lifestyles.    

This is the perfect time to begin preserving our past for future generations. It is horrible that twenty percent of our battlefields have been irreplaceably damaged. Where brother fought against brother, now lay housing developments, casinos, and countless other buildings. One common example is when a park protecting the battlefield has to close or severely limit its hours.  This makes it harder for us to learn from and celebrate the lives of all the men who gave their lives for our country.  I wonder what these people trying to destroy the battlefields think.  How could someone not care about something so important as Civil War battlefields? Men lost their lives here and we just want to put up buildings?

Every time we destroy a piece of this hallowed ground we are taking away part of our history. Abraham Lincoln said this perfectly, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” We should stop destroying our history and start preserving it.

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