30 March 2009

Tear Down Or Protect?

“Virginia is truly rich in history,” Kaine said. “Our state saw the majority of the Civil War’s largest and most significant battles. As the stewards of this American history, it has fallen to us, working in partnership with private organizations and the federal government, to protect and safeguard these national treasures."

Story here.

Other national treasures, such as Confederate statues, seem to be more controversial. Were it not for the fact that both the battlefields and monuments bring in truckloads of tourist dollars, I doubt the federal government or state governments would be willing to commit "their" resources (our tax dollars) to preserving either battlefields or monuments. That's not a criticism, just an observation.

(My wife and I returned late last night from Liberty University's Civil War Seminar - what a weekend! I'll have lots to say and lots of photos to post in the coming days. The presentations were fascinating, the discussions lively, the whole event most memorable; including the opportunity to meet and chat with a well known Civil War movie producer/director. Also, my wife and I were privileged to stay at the Carter Glass Mansion over the weekend. That experience is a story in and of itself. Much to discuss in the coming days. Stay tuned.)

8 comments:

James F. Epperson said...

It is very ironic that, while Virginia saw the vast majority of fighting in the Civil War, the four parks I most enjoy visiting (Shiloh, Chickamauga, Antietam, Gettysburg) are all outside the Old Dominion. There is no "blame" or anything to this, just an unusual factoid. The only Virginia parks that I really enjoy are mult-battle parks (Fred-Spotts and Petersburg). The fact that several fights occurred in both of these makes for difficult interpretation and management, I'm sure.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hello James. Yes, it is a little ironic. I would have to agree with you on Gettysburg. It is my favorite to visit as well. And, despite what the critics say, I also love the downtown "commercialized" aspect of Gettysburg. My wife and I both love to visit.

Thanks for the input.

James F. Epperson said...

...all of which is why, from my perspective living in Alabama and Michigan, I have developed a large feeling of animus for the powers-that-be in Spottsylvania County. I do recognize the issues raiseed by having a large park eating up so much taxable land, but what they have done and are doing is close to sinful.

cenantua said...

Richard, I'm not sure I totally agree with the State and Fed dollars remark. I think there are limitations on what these dollars have historically supported, even back some 50 years. If I'm not mistaken, I don't think you will see that State and Fed dollars have been committed to local (county-type) Confederate monuments. Local funds, even from county and town/city government entities maybe, but not beyond that. I think the focus has been limited to battlefield monuments (Monument Avenue might prove me wrong on this). Prior to 50 years back, I think broader support was had, but mostly because of that being at the end-of-life period for most who had direct connections with the war.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

You're probably right Robert. My comment simply reflected my cynicism toward politicians of all stripes who claim to have any real interest in anything beyond their own political advancement. Senator Hanger (with the SCV's prodding I might add) was responsible for State funds going to clean the Lee statue on Monument avenue a year or two ago.

cenantua said...

Incidentally, the price figure to clean and restore the two Confederate monuments in Luray is around 500K. The Barbee statue is the bigger problem of the two as it has to be dismantled to be properly restored.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Unbelievable. What marker project are you working on?

cenantua said...

We're raising funds for a marker to go up recounting the reunion that took place in 1881 in Luray. There were actually two reunions, one when the Union veterans came down to see the caverns (July), and the second after Union veterans paid the way of some 200 Confederate veterans to come to Carlisle (September). To help raise funds, we produced an ornament based on the design of the G.A.R. medal. We've cleared the invoice for the cost of the ornaments, and still have enough, I think, from which to raise another $1,400 to cover the cost of the marker.

The reunion may have been the first of its kind, at least of that scale. I've been trying to find information about any such reunions taking place before July 1881.