“And in the end it is not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.”
I’ve spent the last two and a half days intensively studying the Civil War. I know, what a great way to spend Christmas break. But I have been enjoying myself—aside from the occasional feelings of illness whenever casualty rates of certain battles or descriptions of wounds are given. I’ve been watching Ken Burns’ documentary series on The Civil War (it’s on Netflix, if anyone is interested) and reading the correlating/relevant speeches from my copy of The World’s Greatest Speeches. In fact, as soon as I finish this episode, I’m going to settle down with some tea and Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural and Gettysburg addresses. I love hearing history from the mouths of those who lived it; it’s preferable, in a way. Given the choice to have someone talk to me about Abraham Lincoln or go hear what Lincoln himself has to say—well, I choose both—but the latter is superior to me.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far, it’s that nothing is merely black and white. The issues of the Civil War get boiled down to the most overly simplistic, easily digestible statements (i.e. “Slavery is bad. Therefore, the Confederacy was bad.”), when there was really so much more to it than seen at surface level. I cried at Stonewall Jackson’s last words—and I wasn’t even a particular fan of his. There were good and bad aspects on both sides; I’m glad I’m studying this now and not when I was supposed to (9th grade), because I would have missed out entirely on this level of understanding.
But my word… A whole lot of people died. So many.
Thanks for sticking with me through this sort of random assortment of posts over the last week or so, I’ll try to have a little more cohesion (maybe?) in the future.
P.S. OH—and the secret from last week? I passed my driver’s test!