A few of the themes that have popping up throughout the trip thus far Loyalty, heartache and Hope…Students react to the Adventure so far…
The fact that the Southern states where able to regroup and stay strong to their beliefs after the civil war is truly awe striking. The loyalty that the newly freed slaves and defeated confederate soldiers had to their heritage is amazing. Not a lot of Americans know about Stone Mountain. In addition, this carving is taller than Mount Rushmore and was started before Mount Rushmore. In addition, this carving of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis was finished in the 1970s, during the civil rights movement. An example of the heritage of free slaves and their 100-year effort to gain free rights is exemplified through the MLK museum. In the heart of Atlanta, King’s birth home is preserved as well as the Baptist Church he preached in. This preservation proves that people will cross and bounds and travel any distance to preserve their legacy. –Paul B. Scheidt
I’m finding that the reasons the confederates and Yankees fought surprisingly similar. It was interesting to see the memorials and monuments made to the confederates. I did not think the union would allow such things to be made and maintained for this long. Going to the different extreme sites was very cool. In one day we went and sat in awe at the magnitude of Stone Mountain and how it originally took priority over the creation of Mount Rushmore. Later in the day we watched and listened to the sermons and sites of importance to Dr. King Jr. I really respected the work we did at the Freedman’s cottage and I would love to do it again. And the cultural preservation seen through the Gullah Cuisine restaurant really impressed me. I have enjoyed learning about the confederates, which is extremely interesting for me and I cant wait to compare themes the rest of the journey. –Connor A. Johnson
As I ponder the themes that have been given to us of heartache, hope, and loyalty, I am finding that there are many multifaceted situations that these themes apply to, and that they are linked to each other in intricate and complex ways. For example, the Chickamauga battlefield spoke greatly of both heartache and hope, mostly in the hearts of the Confederate soldiers. The story of the Confederate Private Po, who found his farm on Chickamauga destroyed, shows heartache in the fact that his way of life is dead. He later flees the Confederacy to swear allegiance to the Union. He hopes to have a normal life again. His loyalty is drawn from the Confederacy to his family. We see another great example of heartache in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who spoke powerfully on the subject in ways that deeply moved us. It is amazing to see that even that long after the Civil War, we still have to move on the same issues as modern forms of abolitionists, with hope for an equal future. It shows and speaks measures of the heartache of the past, the loyalty to a righteous cause, and the hope for a greater future, and the freedom from the horrors of segregation. These three themes truly bring history to life. — Ross L. Johnson
This Civil War adventure has provided the group with the opportunity to delve into the themes of Heartache, Loyalty, and Hope. The many sites and places that we have visited impeccably display the presence of such themes throughout the trials of the Civil War and the fight for equal rights by African Americans. The first site that we visited was the Chattanooga torchlight parade. This parade, although shortened by a dreadful thunderstorm, brought to mind the heartache of the soldiers who sacrificed for the United States and the loyalty that our nation, in return, has for them and their memory. Our next event was our tour of the Chickamauga Battlefield. Here, we were told the stories of many men who hoped to make their lives better, through self-sacrifice and bravery. These men, Confederates who enlisted because of a draft, were not fighting for loyalty, but for the hope of returning to their “normal” lives. Unfortunately, their lives would become irreparably shattered by the devastating battle that waged on their fields, and by the fires and cannons that destroyed their homes, but the hope was still there in the beginning. Our next significant visit was at the memorial, tomb, and childhood home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Here, we were reminded of the loyalty, hope and heartache of Dr. King and his followers. These sites clearly provided the group with an understanding of the emotions of the people in the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. –Robert A. Scheidt
A broken heart may result from a wide range of experience. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of a broken heart as a fact and a part of life. The Poe and Brotherton families experience heartbreak when their homes are completely destroyed in the Battle of Chickamauga. In history class, the teacher speaks of events on a macroscopic scale, explaining the major events of history: cause and effect. However, on this trip, we begin to view the American Civil War on a much more personal level. We see that the loyalties of American citizens weren’t just North and South, Union and Confederate, black and white. Poe joins the Confederacy because the Union encroached on his land; he deserts less than a year later. This ambiguous nature was in fact prevalent in the minds of the people. Also, we find what drives men to lay down their lives in battle: hope. Hope leads men to abandon their families to join the army. Hope leads African-Americans to protest their status as inferior to whites. We saw this in the story of Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as in the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry, reenacted at the Old Charleston Prison. We begin to understand the mindset of those involved in the fight for equal rights.
On to Fort Sumter with Joe McGill…