I wanted to write this post for about two weeks, but I just did not know how to start this blog entry or what to title it. So, after contemplating what to write for a few days, I figured I would just jump right in with my thoughts and let the words flow.
When I am not blogging for the Emerging Civil War, I am a professional historian and park ranger for the National Park Service. When big events, commemorations, anniversaries, etc. are scheduled by national parks, that particular site can ask for rangers to be detailed in to help.
I was lucky, privileged really, to assist with the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek and joined for a few days the great historians at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park.
That is when the “geeking out” in my job began. Hundreds, thousands more like it, came to the park, the park partners, to catch the reenactments, the battlefield tours, car caravans programs, and the real-time talks.
Some of the ground that was walked on, including a program that I had the privilege to lead, was on recently preserved land and being accessed for one of the very first times. To be on the same ground 150 years after the action took place, with ancestors of some of the soldiers that fought, bled, and died on this sacred ground, was humbling.
Hearing the different accounts that my fellow historians shared with the public and fellow history enthusiasts like myself, made me realize one fact.
My job, like any job, has its down…but then it has its “awesome, amazing, humbling, and inspiring” moments. Add in the emotion, the connections of being on sacred, consecrated land. Heroes walked here, heroes bled here, heroes who fought for a cause; whether we agree with that cause or not, gave the ultimate measure here. And my job was to share those stories, solidify the connections between visitors and the combatants.
That is pretty cool! That is the reason I joined the public history field and that is one of the reasons I write for Emerging Civil War–to inspire, share, and learn from other great public historians; both fellow bloggers and readers.
And the simple saying, “just another day in the office” sometimes just does not really cover it.