We drove across the state of Mississippi to Vicksburg where we spent the night. In the morning, we took a ride through the Vicksburg National Military Park, the site of the Siege of Vicksburg during the American Civil War. Vicksburg was considered to be very important because it was believed that capturing Vicksburg would sever the Confederate Army in two and open the Mississippi River to Northern traffic along its entire length. The first attempt to capture Vicksburg began in the summer of 1862 and officially ended on July 4, 1863.
The Park is in a beautiful, peaceful setting filled with monuments acknowledging the placement of the Union and Confederate troops. Driving through the area, it is difficult to imagine the brutality of war that took place. But, in fact, it is thought that more than 19,000 soldiers died there. It served to remind me that no matter how just or urgent the reason for war, the true legacy of war is always the same.
As we drove away from the cemetery, I found myself longing for a time when our history isn't told so much as a series of recorded wars and battles but as a record of our humanity and achievements.