So, on Saturday the city of Alexandria had an event to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the occupation of the city by the Union Army in the first month of the Civil War (Alexandria was occupied through the entire war, because as a part of Virginia, it had seceded, but was also right across the Potomac River from Washington, DC…so kind of an important location to protect the US capital)
The Awesome Historic House took part in the commemoration with a family event and open house, and we had a table along with a lot of other historic sites on the central square in Old Town. I spent most of the day working the table, handing out information on the AHH.
Before the event, I had been making jokes with the main staff people at the AHH (who I went to grad school with and am friends with) about how I would try my best to not get in fights with crazy Southerners. For context, I studied the Civil War extensively in college…in Massachusetts. So I have a slightly different view of the war than many people in the South (also, I didn’t have any ancestors who fought in the war, so I like to think that that makes it so that I don’t get quite so hung up over it)
Being as this is Virginia, I was expecting an explosion of crazy at the event. You know, hoards of Confederate flags and rednecks insisting that the South will rise again, that the South wasn’t fighting to preserve slavery, etc. The Civil War tends to bring out the crazies, so I was a little nervous about working that event.
Well, color me impressed. The event was extremely well attended (I hadn’t felt like it was as well-publicized as it should have been, but apparently it was enough!), and very mellow, rational, and respectful of all sides. Music was provided by a brass band dressed as Union soldiers (I have to admit, I kept waiting for them to get booed or something, but everyone was extremely well behaved–and the band was pretty freaking amazing!) I think I saw a grand total of two Confederate flags the entire day. There was an amazing number of African American women who were dressed as if they were from the period. It was just all-around amazing.
So, in summation, well done Alexandria (and the after party that you had for those of us who worked and volunteered at the event was pretty sweet also)! You show the rest of the South how it’s done! 🙂