Over the past four years I have been blessed with many opportunities to work with the National Park Service. I spent two summers as an intern in Fredericksburg, VA and another two at George Washington Birthplace. And though I will miss my NPS family and friends in Virginia this summer, the need to spread my wings and explore a completely new battlefield has landed me in Stone River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Aptly dubbed the “Rodney Dangerfield of Civil War battles” because it gets no respect, few know that the conflict was one of the war’s bloodiest battles. Stones River is the Civil War story of late December 1862 – a story that ended in nearly 25,000 dead, captured, or wounded men. Stones River National Battlefield sits just on the outskirts of Murfreesboro, a city with more than 100,000 residents, and is the location at which I will spend the next few months working as an intern.
During my stay in Murfreesboro I will be publishing a series of blog posts featuring the important individuals responsible for operating and maintaining Stones River National
Battlefield. While the battle itself is an integral part of the Civil War and its understanding, the park rangers who keep the site alive are often overlooked. They spend their days tending to and caring for the battlefield and museum so that this important story does not fade into oblivion. It is through their efforts that the site remains clean and safe for visitors to enjoy.
Although I have yet to don the green and gray uniform of a park ranger, this intern cherishes the opportunity to learn what it takes to operate a park and to share my discoveries with the public. From participating in living history events and interacting with visitors to simply cutting weeds along the sidewalks, interns fill a much-needed void in the park’s operation. It is certainly not a glamorous job, but someone has to do it. And I for one am happy the opportunity has fallen to me. Sometimes I wonder what exactly I’ve gotten myself into, but based on my past internships, the phrase “never a dull moment” rings true and I look forward to this summer with an open mind and a willingness to learn.