Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sharing With Students About The Civil War


  For many years now I have had the opportunity to go into local schools and teach the students about the Civil War. I started metal detecting in 1972 and hunted for relics pretty consistently until the 1990's. I have found a wide variety of relics on primarily the area around Stones River, Bell Buckle, Franklin, and Nashville. I hunted with my brother-in-law Hulon Helms until his death in 1984. My interest in the war started about the age of nine when my mother took me to see a John Wayne movie called the Horse Soldiers which was based loosely on Grierson's Union Calvary raid during Grant's Vicksburg campaign. I was about the age of many of the students that I talk to. The value of a movie like the Horse Soldiers is that although Hollywood takes great liberty with the truth, movies can spark your interest in history. Enough that you can find out the truth on your own through a more in depth study of the subject matter. I never understood why Hollywood feels the need to stretch the truth or invent things because most of the time the truth is much more interesting.

  Kids like to hear about the blood and gore and the teachers not so much. I want the kids to understand like Sherman understood that war is "cruelty and you cannot refine it". He is often misquoted in that he said that "war is hell". He actually said that " many say that war is all glory but it is really all hell". I am paraphrasing somewhat. Yet war is like a bad wreck that you recoil in horror but you can't take your eyes off of it. I want kids to understand why we are a great and good country. We have much to be ashamed of but war is the struggle that has refined us as gold is refined. We were formed as a nation through the process of war. Slavery was doomed to extinction but war sped up it's demise. Pearl Harbor shocked us into the reality that we could not isolate ourselves from the affairs of the world and not ultimately pay a heavy price. There is something honorable when a man or woman feels there is a cause worth dying for. The study of war however helps us to realize that war is not something that should be entered into lightly. The first picture is my grandson Blaine Segroves and myself. I was at Vero Beach Elementary for three days and forgot my camera on the first day and was not able to take pictures of those classes or my daughter-in-law Lisa Segroves who is also a teacher there.

These last two pictures are when I was at Lavergne High School in the 1980's.

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