Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kentucky Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration

A few weeks ago, one of my entries mentioned a website for Ohio's planned celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and during that entry I lamented the fact that my native and beloved Kentucky was not on the list of states that site listed as having such a commemoration planned (though through the Kentucky Historical Society, not, apparently, a separate commission.)

Well, the good news is that such a plan does exist. I will post the link to the press release and the text below. It apparently was announced months ago, but I had missed it completely.

This link includes links to some other information about this commemoration. One of them is a press release from August 24 stating that the Kentucky Historical Society had received a grant of $1,050,000 from the state to help with this commission. During the current economic climate, state funding like that is wonderful news, even if that amount must last the entire 4 years.

I regret not learning and posting of this earlier, but I'm glad to see it now - better late than never is true in this case.

As this release mentions, Kentucky's motto of "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" never seems more appropriate than when discussing the Civil War, especially the Bluegrass State's role in it.§ionid=5

News & Events

Discovering Together: Kentucky's Civil War Landscapes

During the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, the Kentucky Historical Society will share with the nation the story of Kentucky's role in this contentious struggle.

The Kentucky motto, "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" was tested during the four years of the war. The tenuous stance Kentucky held during the war provides the commonwealth with a unique and complex historical narrative to reveal during the 2011 - 2015 Civil War Sesquicentennial.

During the contentious struggle, United States President Abraham Lincoln powerfully asserted, "I would like to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky." The importance of Kentucky, especially its strategic location along transportation routes, surpluses of agricultural and industrial products and large populations for armies, was imperative to efforts to preserve the Union.

In Kentucky, the war truly was a war among families. Kentucky provided soldiers for both armies and was represented by stars on both the United States and Confederate States flags. The state witnessed contentious political debates, and was the birthplace of the presidents of both the United States and Confederate States. Further, Kentucky was home to families who severed relations with one another over the politics and economics of slavery, and to enslaved families, who were forcibly separated by being sold by owners, or by fleeing to the unknown--freedom.

Kentucky's story during the Civil War is a composite of what the U. S. faced on a whole, and even 150 years, later, that story has lingering effects. As administrator of Kentucky's Civil War Sesquicentennial commemoration, KHS invites Kentuckians to Discover Together: To unshackle preconceived thinking about people, places and events of the Civil War and to arrive at a new understanding of our shared pasts.

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