Thursday, October 23, 2014

Civil War commemorated

Liberty holds seminar to emphasize the importance of remembering American history

Liberty University held the 18th Annual Civil War Seminar April 4-5, featuring prominent speakers such as the “nation’s leading authority on America’s Civil War” Dr. James “Bud” Robertson, according to the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History website.

The seminar also featured Virginia Military Institute graduate and former U.S. Army soldier Dr. Kyle Sinisi, Lt. Col. David J. White, who has earned four master’s degrees in relation to U.S. history and military and Executive Director at Sandusky Historic Foundation, Greg Starbuck.

The speakers commemorated the Civil War, emphasizing the importance of remembering how the war influenced and helped create modern-day America.

“Modern America was born in 1865,” Robertson said. “The nation can now proclaim we have liberty, but that liberty came from the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, which were direct results of the Civil War itself.”

FREEDOM — Attendees learned about how the Civil War changed society. Photo credit: Marybeth Dinges

FREEDOM — Attendees learned about how the Civil War changed society. Photo credit: Marybeth Dinges

Robertson said that no matter how you look at it, the way in which the United States currently operates is because of the “terrible, awful war.” White said the Civil War changed the nature of society and the union.

“There’s no single event in American history that had the same impact on (America), the lasting impact, that those four years did,” White said.

White also said that, in order to know where America is heading, it is essential to know what happened in the past.

“You can have a good feel for where we are in society today, but if you don’t know where you came from, it’s hard to tell where you’re going in the future,” White said.

Sinisi commented on why he thinks it is crucial for the upcoming generation to be aware of Civil War history and the sacrifices made by American soldiers during the war.

“The war provides us with tens of thousands, literally hundreds of thousands, of people who were willing to think beyond themselves,” Sinisi said. “We live largely in a narcissistic age. One need only think of the word ‘selfie’ to understand that. But, here were people who thought much beyond their own existence and thought about values and … a cause that was willing to be sacrificed for.”

In his lecture “How the Civil War Still Lives,” Robertson mentioned legislation, organizations, inventions, songs and more that were sparked during the Civil War.

According to Robertson, American paper money was invented during the Civil War along with the commode, clothing sizes labeled “S,” “M,” “L” and “XL” canned goods, and Salisbury steak, to mention a few.

Robertson also mentioned that federal delivery of mail first started during the Civil War. According to Robertson, because people were receiving letters informing them their loved ones had died in the war, local post offices became a “wailing wall.” In turn, the government decided to issue home delivery of mail.

“You cannot escape the Civil War in daily life,” Robertson said. “It’s everywhere around you. It governs your life, your activities, your very existence.”

Junior history major Joshua Simatupang is originally from Indonesia and said it is interesting to hear about the Civil War from an inside, American
perspective.

“Seeing all the small things the Civil War produced that everybody takes for granted … I think it’s (really an) enlightening experience,” Simatupang said.

To learn more about the Civil War, contact the National Civil War Chaplains Museum on campus at Liberty University or call 434-582-2087.

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