In recognizing the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, Americans would do well to remember Abraham Lincoln’s words in the Gettysburg Address to honor the sacrifice of the men who fought there.
The 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment made an incredible stand at Little Round Top, culminating in a dramatic downhill charge that arguably saved both the Union left flank and perhaps the entire battle for the boys in blue. On the flip side, one looks in awe at the ground that had to be covered, under heavy cannon fire, by Confederate soldiers under Maj. Gen. George Pickett in the ill-fated charge into the Union center. For those who travel to the sacred ground at Gettysburg, it is hard not to admire those who fought on both sides.
Modern classrooms ignore the history of military conflict to an appalling degree. Students only learn that the Civil War was about abolitionists, WWI was about the League of Nations, and WWII was all about throwing Japanese citizens into internment camps. This is a shame and a detriment to future generations of Americans.
Never mind that slavery was largely extinguished by rough men in American uniforms, the League of Nations was defeated by Congress and failed to achieve even narrow goals, and that Japanese internment was created by liberal Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt and fought by a conservative Republican governor of Colorado, Ralph L. Carr.
It was in large part the early nineteenth century way of teaching about the American Revolution that inspired the patriotism and the will of Northern soldiers to fight and die for the Union. Also, the devotion of leaders to inculcate the values of patriotism and American exceptionalism through speeches to the American people inspired many to fight for their country. This emphasis is sadly evaporating in modern public school classrooms in exchange for stifling political correctness; it is diminished by politicians that fail to, or intentionally avoid, speaking of the great values and people that made this nation great.
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