Monday, October 20, 2008

History Lesson


Last weekend, my husband and I took a long anticipated trip to Franklin, Tennessee. The weekend was perfect. Touring the battlefield and surrounding plantations was interesting, and the weather was beautiful. What I hadn't planned was falling in love with this small city in a big way. I can't recommend a visit highly enough, especially in the fall; the patchwork leaves on the mountains was breathtaking. The highlight was the Classic Franklin walking tour we took with Rene of Franklin on Foot. Absolutely worth every penny. Rene is an amazing docent who fleshed out the history of the town from the late 1700's to modern times, including a chance to sit among a priceless art collection (I won't spoil the surprise.)

The old retired guys and myself were there with civil war maps in hand, lingering over every plaque and asking a million questions, while the wives and Hubby gamely watched on, wondering when this would all end so they could get an iced tea somewhere. I couldn't help but see parallels between the viscious battles of the 1860's and the modern day cat fight we call a political campaign. Superficially, some of the verbiage is the same: campaigns, attacks, battleground states, opponents, a nation divided, war chest. Standing in front of historic homes riddled in bullet holes, witnessing neighboring modern houses with opposing candidate signs in their yards, and then standing over the blood stained hearth bricks and floors in Carnton, brought home just how little we have advanced as a nation at all. Here we are 144 years later with race and economics still pitting neighbor against neighbor. My hope is that we don't forget what the previous centuries of American men and women lived and died for: liberty to make our own decisions and accept the tremendous responsibility for each other that particular freedom entails.

A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.
Thomas Jefferson

We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.
George Bernard Shaw

4 comments:

Heather said...

Ok, I'm in love with your pictures! My brother and SIL recently moved from Oregon to a small town very near to Franklin. Sounds like the perfect place for me to recommend to them!

Mom said...

Brilliant commentary!

Carmen said...

I'd be right there with you and the old guys asking a million questions! I think my husband would probably want something stronger than ice tea to drink afterwards, though. Love the quotes, by the way.

Ruth said...

It is a thought-provoking place, isn't it?