To Remember is an Act of Choice

To remember is an act of choice... and not merely an experience. Xan at Corrente chooses to remember the “independence day of our second american revolution”, and the debt all of us owe to those of us who paid the highest price possible for liberty, as well as the debt all of us owe to those of us that carry the conscience and memory of this nation. Today I want to remember my ancestor who fought many battles for the union army, and was imprisoned at andersonville and lived to tell the tale. Besides the fact that the only reason I am here today (along with many others of his descendants) is because the all-father did not call him to Valhalla from the battlefield, I feel that in many ways I owe him my understanding of freedom, and what it means to sacrifice everything for the sake of future generations. What sort of country would this be if the union had fragmented and slavery still practiced in the south? Some say that it would have ended on its own eventually - but how many would have had to suffer and die in chains?

Some say that the opportunistic north wanted to keep slavery for themselves and not for the south - that it was a war of economic competition. I don’t think that the historical record bears this out particularly, but I fear that for some it is an argument that is attractive in that it bestows upon them the righteousness of victimhood that is undeserved. Some that were there state that abolition was merely the strongest political argument for war, but from Lincoln’s point of view it was to preserve the union, and defend the constitution that the north waged war upon the south. I find this argument to be somewhat more supported by the historical record, but as I’m only an amateur at history I’d have to get back to you on that. I feel that what my ancestor would want me to think about and remember on this day is that the union as it stands, and the constitution which we are sworn to defend, is something that many men died to preserve, and so we oughtn’t to let it be bandied about lightly by vain and servile men without honor, who deem it “just a goddamned piece of paper“.