Vicksburg National Military Park

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Such a beautiful place with such an ugly past. You can’t help but be humbled knowing the number that died on these grounds. And mad at the stupid inhumane reason for it.

Many think places and memorials like this should be taken down, as they honor those that fought for racism. I feel differently, I do understand the feeling that leads to that, and have even come to realize that in some cases such as schools it is a necessity for the children’s mental well being. But, I am also a firm believer that if we do not remember, learn about, and understand our history, we are fated to repeat it. the truth is not always taught in the schools, which makes it a must that we not only protect the battlefields where these events occurred but to visit them and share the truth of what happened.

Vicksburg is one of many that honors ALL who died on both sides of the fight.

The siege lasted 47 days and took over 36,000 lives. Wrap your head around that a moment. How many of those were fighting for a better life, because they were for slavery, or because they merely believed that the government should not tell them how to live? Were they fighting against family and friends? Maybe they were only fighting because the social expectations at the time, dictated that they should? How many could have brought peace to the world? Cured diseases? Been world-famous artists?

Would you be surprised to know that many of those that died were African-American? In fact, the campaign, siege, and defense of Vicksburg provide two of the earliest instances of African-American soldiers serving in combat during the Civil War. How many were made to fight? How many just wanted to be free? Makes you think, doesn’t it?

The Largest Outdoor Art Gallery in the World

The park is now home to over 1,300 monuments, tablets, and markers, earning it the title of “The Largest Outdoor Art Gallery in the World”. I wasn’t so sure about the art gallery title, but actually, it has a history of having a vast array of early 20th century artists and sculptors who designed and created the monuments. 95% of the park’s monuments were in place prior to 1917.

It is easy to get lost in the beauty of the landscape and the buildings. But there is a heavy feeling there that keeps you grounded in the knowledge of the enormity of loss that is hidden beneath that beauty.

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