Thursday, March 7, 2013

. . . and a Time to Heal

Our country continues to recognize (I can't say celebrate) the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  The town we live in was very active during the war, mainly because we had a river and a bridge across it.

Nowadays, it is easy to reminisce and dress up and pretend we know stuff about war.

It has been 150 years, and there remains a few treasured relics and many second-hand memories of that war.  Our local library had a series of lectures about the Civil War last summer, and they had to change their meeting place to accommodate the huge crowds. I went to most of the lectures,  and the room was packed every time. 

Several local groups have reenactments of battles on the actual ground they occurred.  There is a large group of actors who enjoy doing this, but there is always a lack of soldiers willing to be Yankees. 

I think it is time we move on and heal some attitudes that we have inherited. That is easy for me to say, though, since it is 150 years in the past and no one has stolen my food or silverware or killed my babies or burned my house.  Forgiveness is much easier when you are far removed from the pain and don't have to look it in the face.

Writer Rick Bragg shares a story of speaking in front of a group of people in south Alabama.  It was before he knew better, he explains, than to talk about football, religion, and politics.  During his lecture, he made some jokes about our Southern life.  A man, obviously angry, got up and stomped out of the room.  Afterwards, Mr. Bragg mentioned it to another fellow, saying that man must have been really upset about those football jokes.  "No", the fellow  answered, "he's still mad about the war."