Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ohio Civil War 150 website


I just found this site a few days ago and think it's a very nice one. I am glad to see Ohio is at least preparing to acknowledge the sesquicentennial (it's not much easier to type that than it is to say it) of the war and to provide sources for information about the war. I think it will be a great resource to keep checking on for updates in the region and any events that are planned.

I know the 2011-2015 period seems a long time away, but it's really only 1 year from starting; with the 150th anniversary of Lincioln's nomination and election both occuring in 2010, the prelude to this bigger anniversary is even closer.

This period may be a great opportunity - the greatest of our liftime, at least for those of us who did not live through the centennial of the war in the early 1960s - to spark interest in our country's bloodiest and most terrible conflict.

Perhaps using words like "bloody" may seem a strange way to try to attract positive attention to something, but I feel it is appropriate, maybe even mandatory to do so, as the pain, suffering, and death that occurrred during these years greatly impacted this nation and its future. Americans were fighting and killing each other, and in many instances, the cliche of "brother against brother" or "neighbor against neighbor" were literally true. Why did this happen? How did this happen? What did such a terrible war do to change the United States and its future? These are just some of the questions that more people will soon have the chance to explore and ponder. At least I do firmly hope that is the kind of opportunity these few years will provide.

This year's bicentennial of Lincoln's birth has witnessed an outpouring of new books, articles and discussions of the 16th President,  and even when I walked through grocery stores, Lincoln magazines had prominent places on the magazine racks. Who ever thought I'd buy an Abraham Lincoln publication at Remke's?

Something similar will - hopefully - take place starting in 2011, perhaps on an even grander scale. Time for planning events and coming up with ideas will pass by quickly, so I am glad to see this site from the state neighboring my home. I also am glad to see the list of states that also have similar sites, according to a link on Ohio's, including Arkansas, Connecticut, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. (Here's a link to get to those pages:  http://www.ohiocivilwar150.org/links/ )

Unfortunately, my beloved native Kentucky is not on that list. Hopefully that changes soon.  These four years can hopefully help people, especially children, develop and further interest in the Civil War and history overall.

At the James A Ramage Civil War Museum, I know that one of the key goals of 2010 will be to start developing plans for 2011 and beyond (especially 2012, the 150th anniversary of the Siege of Cincinnati.) Coming up with ideas, determining which ones to pursue and how to do them will all be important steps. Hopefully (I know I use that word a lot in describing this anniversary period) we may even be able to collaborate with other local history and Civil War groups in at least some events.

This will take a lot of planning and effort, and I'm glad to see several states have already started this process with these websites dedicated to the war's 150th anniversary. Hopefully (again) more states start soon, or have already started, but just not with websites yet.

Again, I give credit to the Ohio Historical Society for developing this website, as well as to other state societies. I look forward to watching them for updates, event schedules, ideas and other ways to promote the exciting Civil War sesquicentennial.

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