Modern realities vs. Sesquicentennial remembrance

Posted on April 6, 2011 by


No need to lecture me. I get it. In the big scheme of things, the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War is hardly on the radar when we consider some bigger issues facing us in these times. Yet, for those like myself, who have been looking forward to this time in our lifetime, for years, the big opening of the Sesquicentennial could be less than what we thought it might be… less than what it could have been… especially if the government shutdown occurs, and the National Parks are closed.

Take for example, the events that are planned to take place in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the bombardment of Fort Sumter. How many historians, enthusiasts, buffs, or merely the historically curious (if only for a short while) are looking forward to attending these events? Ohhhhh, for that opportunity… that once in a lifetime opportunity… to stand on a spot where a particular event took place, 150 years ago, to the day. Sure, some of us get “that feeling” in our souls, no matter when we get the opportunity to stand on a particular parcel of hallowed ground, but… geez… how often is it on the exact day, or during a major anniversary such as the Sesquicentennial? Whether that “feeling” is all in our heads or not, it’s something that moves us far more than reading about the event can ever come close to.

But, you know… some folks are banking on folks like us, and I think the local media in Charleston, S.C. is well aware of the potential impact.

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While there are plenty of folks gearing-up for the events surrounding Sumter’s big day (whether they are planning on being there as tourists or participants in the living history events), local economies will also be impacted by a government shutdown… which will shutdown the NPS. No doubt, many a Charleston business owner was looking forward to the string of days around the anniversary of the bombardment on Ft. Sumter. Even if it was going to be no more than a short-term boom… it’s still an infusion of money into the local economy. Sure, folks will still attend the events, as Ft. Sumter AND Ft. Moultrie aren’t the only places where the anniversary will be recognized. But taking out the two from the remembrance activities is like not being able to add critical seasonings in a fine recipe.

But, you know… it’s not just Sumter and Moultrie that stand to be impacted by, what could be, a week-long… or even two-week government shutdown.

For those, like myself, who can’t make it to Sumter, we look for other events, such as those coming up Baltimore (I can’t get over the pure eye candy in their initial Web page), or Harpers Ferry. Granted, the impact on the two will likely be far less than that experienced in Charleston, but, Baltimore will indeed be impacted, for crimps in plans that include… Ft. McHenry.

Personally, I had planned to travel (and still hope to attend, if the shutdown doesn’t occur, or, hopefully, is only short-term) to Harper’s Ferry to kick-off my opening-of-the-war Sesquicentennial remembrance. I’ve been looking forward to hearing the NPS’s special tours focused on the Virginia militia taking over the arsenal there. Sure, I’ve been to Harper’s Ferry before, and I’ve seen the remains of the old arsenal. But, you know… it’s just that 150th thing. I want to be part of it, and that chance to enjoy what the NPS has to offer at one of our National treasures.