Monday, January 12, 2009

The Vandalism At Gettysburg

I was, like many others, stunned and horrified to read about the vandalism perpetrated at Gettysburg this past week. The Jess and I have visited the Eternal Peace Light Memorial; it is a truly beautiful spot and to see it desecrated is most upsetting. It stands on the field where we beheld man at his worst, killing his fellow man, as a reminder that we must stand up to our most base instincts and avoid the ultimate confrontation of war.
I would also like to join the many voices that have spoken up in hopes that the perpetrators are caught and brought forward to face the full extent of the law. I am frankly not that optimistic that they will be found, but we will have to see.
I also hope that if and when they are caught, some of the ghoulish threats directed at them on various blogs are not carried out. It stands in contravention of everything that the Eternal Peace Light Memorial stands for to wish for what Eric Wittenberg at "Rantings of a Civil War Historian" and Brooks Simpson at "Civil Warriors" (along with some of the comments) want to see happen.
Let's not give in to our lowest instincts, like those who would spray graffiti on a war memorial. We only denigrate ourselves to blather about torturing and murdering these people, and in stooping so low, we give the vandals exactly the perverse satisfaction they're looking for.
We are better than than this saber-rattling, vigilante response. As a community, we are better. As historians, we are better. As people who know what happened on that field, we are better.
So let's act like it.

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