Even after 150 years, many Americans don't have a handle on the "defining moment" in our history--The Civil War.
I've been asked why Kentucky joined the secession? It didn't, though as one of our astute historians observed.."Kentucky waited til the war was over to join the losers!"
But starting this year we are observing the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States, and that's an unparalleled opportunity for most of us to learn what truly happened. Many agencies will help us: NPR & Kentucky Public Radio, PBS & KET, the Kentucky Historical Society (with many exhibits) libraries, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and local re-enactment groups.
Here in Central Kentucky we have major Civil War sites..Perryville, Richmond, White Hall, Nancy, even Henry Clay's Ashland, site of a "skirmish"..as well as Lexington and Frankfort which changed hands many times.
I hope you will take time during the next four years to learn about the War, about the role of our state in it...Lincoln said "I must have Kentucky" (as a Union state)..for such a grand opportunity will not happen again in the lifetime of most of us.
So, to kick the discussion off.."let me make one thing perfectly clear", as another president said..the war was caused by...slavery. The states' rights argument was but a rationale to let those states who wanted to keep slavery, that "peculiar institution", do so.
It was slavery, neither pure nor simple...and we should never forget that.
So..commemorate, observe, memorialize, or whatever you want..but let's take this great opportunity to learn about the most important...and certainly the darkest chapter..in our fascinating history.
I'm just sayin'...