Friday, March 25, 2016

Don't study it, live it!

"I learned far more about the Civil War in just four short years of reenacting than I did in sixteen years of reading about it in school textbooks. History books can't tell us what a wool uniform feels like in July, what rough leather shoes feel like after a long march in the mud, the weight of a rifle in your hands, to sit on a horse and feel the raw muscle power between your heavy a knapsack is, what gunpowder smells like; the beating of drums in your chest, or what a cannon firing a one-pound powder charge actually sounds (and feels) like.

Reading about abstract numbers of casualties and dates, or 'General Lee's division did this while General Meade's division did that and lost xx,xxx men with x,xxx wounded' is so far removed from reality that the average person will never understand it. You want to know what it was like? Go out and live it for a few days.

Those dry, snobby academics who say living historians are idiots, that history should be buried in the ground and forgotten, or entombed in the rotting pages of old memoirs on dusty bookshelves, are the reason why the people of today are so disconnected from their past. When was the last time you saw a kid reading a paper book instead of staring into a screen? They have really short attention spans. They want something to interact with, something to engage the senses. 150 years ago or a 1500 years ago, to them it doesn't matter without an experience. They'll never understand or respect what their ancestors struggled through without a chance to taste, hear, touch, smell, see - and experience- some of it for themselves."

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