A funny thing that happened was while the kids were watching “Gods and Generals” on DVD in the back. At the beginning, a Confederate battle flag is shown, and when it came on, my four year old daughter said to her siblings, “Ooooh look guys, that’s the good guys’ flag!”. I think it’s safe to say that the history lessons I’ve given my children has sunk in. While I think wars rarely can be fairly broken down to good guys/bad guys, it is obviously simpler to children (and many adults). With adults, the good guys always win, because the winners write history. History is the past seen through the eyes of the present.
I can hear the SPLC’s cries of “wacist” and “bwainwasha” already. (Ironic to me in the movie is Jeff Daniels’ character, Joshua Chamberlain, making a long winded anti-slavery/anti-South speech, wherein he questions a government’s (and people’s) commitment to freedom while slavery existed and is protected by law. He uses that to make a fairly convincing speech against the South, until one realizes he is speaking from false premises and hypocrisy. At the time of the speech, he was fighting in an army that was the tool of a government that condoned and allowed slavery in the territory it controlled, and had previously, before the War Between the States. For all of his high speech about hating slavery and loving freedom, he was fighting for a government that condoned slavery, and slapped down Southern states’ freedom in the bloodiest war in American history.