Sunday, April 12, 2009

Flag Over Sumter


Before dawn one day about one score and seven years ago, a National Park Service ranger took me and my father out to Fort Sumter in a small boat in time to see the United States flag raised. I'm not a morning person, but out in Charleston harbor in the light of the rising sun, this was a spectacular sight.

In the meantime, Hurricane Hugo blew threw (in 1989) and damaged a lot of the area, but nearly twenty years later the flag is still there.

April 12, 1861: the American Civil War began when Confederate forces fired on the Union garrisoned fort. In the words of southern historian Bell Irvin Wiley, this was the turning point of the war. With this opening gambit and having refused to accept the fact of the election of President Abraham Lincoln, the Confederacy lost the whole shebang. It only took four more years, the abolition of slavery and the untimely death of tens of thousands to fully sink in. If there's a lesson for today, your guess is as good as mine.

Today's Rune: Fertility.

10 comments:

Sidney said...

I bet that was a great moment. It's great to experience little pieces of history.

jodi said...

War sucks, but the slaves were freed. Happy Easter, Eric!

Anonymous said...

Don't tread on me.--Francis Scott Key

the walking man said...

"death of tens of thousands"...500,000 if I remember my history correctly.

And the union was not allowed to fall but the end of the war in1865 was simply the first step in the struggle.

Ali said...

I'm always interested in knowing more about American history and the civil war. Alot of sacrifices were given but for a great cause

Charles Gramlich said...

A rather lovely flag all told.

Anonymous said...

THE CONFEDERATEFLAG STILL FLIES HERE IN THE SOUTH. THE MIND SET THAT WHITE MAN IS SUPERIOR TO ALL OTHERS STILL FLOURISHES IN MANY PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. VIRGINIA GUN SALES ARE ABOUT THE HIGHEST IN THE NATION. FOX NEWS, TALK RADIO AND NRA PROMOTE FEAR. FEAR IS A FORM OF ENSLAVEMENT.

Lana Gramlich said...

I'd like to see a Civil War reenactment one of these days.

Johnny Yen said...

Did you know that Sumter was then commanded by General Abner Doubleday, who, as it turned out, despite popular myth, did not invent baseball?

Historically, civil wars have been the bloodiest wars. The casualty count was compounded by a couple of things: first, as usual, many of the Generals were, as in many wars, trying to fight the last war. And secondly, medical care for the wounded was horrific.

The lesson I take from that war, as in most of them, is that war is generally the worst way to settle a political dispute, and should always be a last resort.

Erik Donald France said...

Thanks, all for the comments! Much appreciated.