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Two American flags proudly backdrop the Liberty School of Law Supreme Court room where Lynchburg residents joined Friday, Sept. 28 to kick off the 16th annual Civil War Seminar.
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Liberty began the weekend-long event with a banquet, followed by presentations from two of the 11 invited historians.
Lynchburg residents, students, staff and history fanatics met for a small fee of $20 to highlight and discuss this year’s topic of 1862, covering key figures such as Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln.
“We look for historians who study battles from this period that year or campaigns from that year or could give papers on the key leaders,” Chair of the History Department Dr. David Snead said. “Everything Saturday is free for students, faculty and staff.”
Steven Woodworth, author and professor at Texas Christian University, highlighted the rise of Gen. E. Lee. Dr. Brooks Simpson, American historian and history professor at Arizona State University, covered the rise of General Ulysses S. Grant.
“I think students would be surprised by how much they would learn if they attended these events,” Simpson said. “What seems to be a dusty tale of the past actually might resonate with the world they live in today.”
The seminar, initiated by Dr. Kenny Rowlett, the Department of English and Dr. Klein Hall, invited students and Lynchburg residents to gain knowledge and ask questions regarding the Civil War.
“They say those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past and those who know history are doomed to sit and watch everybody else repeat the mistakes of the past. I think you just learn wisdom from History,” Woodworth said. “It’s been said that wise people learn from their mistakes, very wise people learn from other people’s mistakes. You see how other people have dealt with the similar type of things that we deal with today and how people interacted with each other.”
The weekend drew more than just Lynchburg residents to the campus this weekend.
Gerald Holland, Newport News resident and American Military University student, traveled four hours to hear the presentation.
“The whole topic of the conference and Lee is intriguing to me — just overall expanding in the knowledge for the war, “Holland said. “You can go to the 150th of Gettysburg next year, and it’ll cost you $1,000. This doesn’t cost much, and it allowed me to stop at battlefields along the way.”