Essay Mass. 34th

774 Words4 Pages
Today we hear the word war and thoughts shift to the Middle East. In the 60’s we may have thought about Vietnam, in the 40’s perhaps Pearl Harbor or Hitler and in the 20’s maybe the U Boat or the Red Barron. The supposed winner and loser in each war may have crossed the mind as well but not much more. Why did these wars happen? What was being fought for and who was making the sacrifice? In David W. Blight’s article, “The meaning or the fight: Frederick Douglass and the memory of the fifty fourth Massachusetts,” he proves that in modern American society the memory of war is that of a fight and not of what was being fought for. Media, the entertainment industry, and even our education systems paint quite a different picture for each of us.…show more content…
My previous knowledge of Douglass ended there as I would expect most others’ to as well. Using Douglass in this article was probably the strongest hitting point. Blight really opened a new window into the Civil War for me. Douglass helped the blacks to see that allegiance to the country was a big step in the right direction while at the same time enabling them to take pride in their race. Douglass was ahead of his time in his thinking. His urging to reflect upon the battles seemed to be lost on those of his time and remain lost to those of today. Would the black Americans have been as involved in the war without the urging of Douglass? Would things have ended the same? Would my view of the Civil War be different had he not influenced the masses into rising up against the old order? I wonder why, as an American, that I did not know of this great contribution by Douglass before. I am guilty of remembering the contest of war and not even thinking of complicated challenges that were faced by those involved. The dramatics of it all seem a bit easier to swallow. Blight says “…monuments are always about remembrance and forgetting…” and I now agree. A monument looks the same to everyone but its meaning lies within the perception of the viewer. For most, it is easier to see the brave face or the fight. Blight uses the example of the Civil War monument at St. Gaudens to explain this. The monument stands as a reminder of the brave black men that went to war for the Union but
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