Virginia has been in the news this year for a violent alt-right rally centered around a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville. Public opinion is mixed about how to respond. In fact, public opinion is mixed about exactly what is or what are the problem(s) that need to be addressed. We have yet to be able to have a responsible dialog as thoughtful adults. Maybe we’ll get there. I hope so.
I don’t have an opinion on the statues so I am not going to offer one. I do have an observation, however. In the rural areas of Virginia, there are precious few monuments to anything other than the Civil War and that seems like an oddity to me. Roanoke is not so bad. It’s got some great monuments – like the firefighter monument at the Museum of Transportation and the monument to fallen officers in front of the police station. Greensboro has the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park commemorating the Revolutionary War. When you get into rural Virginia, however, there are pretty much only Civil War monuments. It’s as if there have been no notable people or events in the past 150 years, although I am absolutely sure that that is not true.
One notable exception to this is the Booker T. Washington National Monument about an hour north of Henry County on the way to Smith Mountain Lake. Continue reading A Monument to Booker T. Washington
You have to understand that, when a Texan hears the words “the war for independence”, the first thing that comes to mind is the Battle of San Jacinto, the Alamo and Goliad, Santa Anna, and all that. For a Texan, “history” begins in 1836. It takes a while for it to sink in, after moving to Virginia, that history does NOT start in 1836 and there was a bigger, much more important war well before that.
And so it’s understandable, when we recently took Mother down to see the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park in Greensboro, North Carolina, that she assumed that it was related to the Civil War. It took a little while of wandering through the exhibits in the Visitor Center, seeing the red uniforms and the references to Generals Washington and Cornwallis, that she said, “Oh, this is that other war.” She has a way of dramatically understating things. She was nonetheless quite impressed. Continue reading The Other War
One of the perks to living in the Martinsville-Henry County area is that we are less than an hour away from the Blue Ridge Parkway. We take Highway 58 from Martinsville west through the communities of Patrick Springs, Stuart, and Meadows of Dan to get to the Parkway. It doesn’t take long before the Blue Ridge looms up on the horizon and it is always a beautiful trip just getting to the Parkway itself. So far, we have only explored the section of the Parkway that runs north to Roanoke, passing by the community Floyd, which was voted one of the South’s best small towns by Southern Living in 2016. Continue reading Exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway