National Geographic : 2005 Aug
Hallowed Ground I hope the article on Civil War battlefields awakened a rever ence in readers. These fields of death cannot fade from mem ory. They are too important, too humbling, and too full of the blood that built our nation. In our modern world of strip malls and fast food, the grand epic of humanity is being obliterated by instant material gratification. We are so quick to forget, and, as this article showed, our history is agonizingly fragile. LUKE WALKER Fort Wayne, Indiana I'm all for parks and open spaces, but I am opposed to restoring more land to commemorate those occasions-no matter how noble or glorious-when the principal activity was men kill ing other men. The car lots, the housing developments, and the pizza places may not be that FOR MORE INFORMATION To get NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC please call 1-800-NGS-LINE (1-800-647-5463). Hearing-impaired TDD users may call 1-800 -548-9797. The magazine's website: nationalgeo graphic.com/magazine For an online index of all National Geographic publications, go to: nationalgeographic.com/publications attractive, but they represent people's efforts for a better life, and I'll choose them any day over a memorial to a blood stained field. WAYNE B. DIXON Gettysburg,Pennsylvania You state that many argue about the war's causes, yet you present only that it was "a struggle over slavery and freedom." While this is currently the popular view, it was not the opinion of most people of that time, including Abraham Lincoln, who wanted to preserve the Union at all costs. Except by a few abolitionists, slavery was not under attack at the beginning of the war. The men of the South, most of whom owned no slaves, were fighting to defend what they considered to be their sovereign country against an invading army. H. PARKS TILLY Fayetteville, Texas Kudos to Adam Goodheart for correctly placing the Civil War in the context of slavery. Apologists who wish to paint the Confeder acy as engaged in a noble lost cause will doubtless assert that states' rights was the real issue of the war, citing Lincoln's pri mary objective of preserving the Union. But while the North NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC * AUGUST 2005 A A, Forum April 2005 "HallowedGround," a look at the state of Civil War battlefields, and the articleson early humans, "World of the Little People" and "The Path finders,"generated an abundance of mail. "ZipUSA: GuantanamoBay" received spiritedletters about whether the base should exist at all and about the treatment of its newest inhabitants-prisonersfrom the war on terror. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY "Forthe increase and diffusion of geographicknowledge." The National Geographic Society is chartered in Washington, D.C., as a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. Since 1888 the Society has supported more than 7,500 explorations and research projects, adding to knowledge of earth, sea, and sky. JOHN M. 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