Saturday, July 22, 2006

It's SHOWTIME! (part two)

Today I gave one of my favorite presentations; the 45 minute ranger-led artillery walk. It explores the role of artillery during the battle of Antietam. Park visitors really seem to enjoy having artillery de-mystified. I also like to spend less time on hardware and more time on people stories. People are what make history so interesting after all.

Most of the rangers give the artillery walk, and the'yre all very good at it and approach it from slightly different angles. This is a great way to get outdoors with a group of visitors who may or may not know much about the war or the battle. When you get them on the actual ground of this cataclysmic event and open their eyes to the incredible stories of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary times, doing incredibly heroic, cowardly, valorous, or foolish things they often start to see the people of history in a different way. Sometimes this is the first time that they stop to realize that the men and women of the Civil War were exactly the same sort of folks we are today; flesh and blood, and not the bronze or marble heros that we often reduce them to.

This job sure is fun!

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