Archive for Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Accuracy important for re-enactments

March 13, 2002

It seems it would be impossible to provide an accurate history of Kansas in the 1850s and 1860s without including re-enactments of war or violence.

But the Kansas State Historical Society has banned such re-enactments at properties it manages throughout the state.

Ramon Powers, the society's executive director said the decision was based "on our general view of the kind of audience that we are trying to reach out to. Particularly in light of events of September 11, it is not appropriate to engage in those kinds of activities, or have them at our facilities."

But isn't it true that we must learn from our history?

And if that history included war and violence, then we must be aware of that lest we make the same mistakes in our future.

If we don't want wars in our future, we must be aware of the cost of wars in our past. We cannot understand the pure hell that war is if we provide sanitized versions and call them "history."

In the mid-1850s, bloody battles and political unrest ravaged the Kansas frontier, earning this state the moniker, "Bleeding Kansas."

Cleaning up history, by altering our past, will not make our future less violent. It very well could accomplish the opposite. We can't possibly learn from the past if we do not know what it was violence and all.

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