Monday, December 10, 2012

Fort Fisher


Fort Fisher, c. 2012 Susan E. Hance
In the film, Lincoln, the President and his men focus on the attack on Fort Fisher in an effort to defeat the Confederacy in one last blow. I thought of all the times we've been to Fort Fisher, how its mounds are haunting, how you can feel the souls of those who fought there, imagining how they must have felt knowing this was the one last stronghold and that they would certainly be attacked.


West toward the Cape Fear River, c 2012 Susan E. Hance

The Confederate soldiers must have stared into the sunset on those December nights,  shivering with cold and fright while Union soldiers planned their move. If the Union ended the war too soon, the President would not get the 13th amendment passed. The country would still face the need for abolition, yet Lincoln knew it would be more difficult to pass such an amendment if peace came first. What a weight on his shoulders.

Trees Bent Inland, c. 2012, Susan E. Hance

The live oak trees at Fort Fisher are bent inland from years of ocean breezes pushing against their hardy frames. If only they could talk. What sights have they seen, what conversations have they heard, what prayers from the soon-to-be departed have they lifted up? 

In the book, The Butterfly Effect, Andy Andrews uses examples from the Civil War to talk about why each of our lives matters. The Butterfly Effect is based on a thesis that if a butterfly flaps its wings, it moves the air around it, that moves the air next to it, and the chain reaction can literally change the weather around the world. Andrews describes the role of school teacher, Joshua Chamberlain, officer in the Union army, who in the face of almost certain defeat when his unit had massive human losses and no ammunition, gave the order to charge with bayonets fixed. To the astonishment of all involved, they won the battle. He goes on to say that if the South had won the Civil War, there would have been more than two countries, North and South; there would have been multiple sovereign states, as there are in Europe. Interesting thought.  
Further, he says if that were the case, if the USA were divided, it would not have been strong enough to prevail in WWII. Chilling thought.
While in battle, Joshua Chamberlain was hit by a bullet. In the belt buckle. He did not die. That's when he rose to lead the charge that changed history.
Andrews' point is that we each have a purpose; each of us has a life that matters. And everything we do matters. We can change the course of history,just by doing what we were put here to do. Ours may not be the battle that changes the country's history, but it may change the history of those around us. As a result, they will change the history of those around them. Awesome thought, isn't it?

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