01 June 2009 by Published in: Rants 12 comments

I received the following from Jackie Barton, who was named the coordinator for Ohio’s Sesquicentennial Commission:

Dear Friends of the Ohio Civil War 150 Effort,

The Ohio Historical Society launched an initiative to commemorate the Civil War 150th anniversary in Ohio early in 2009. With an approach that emphasizes programs and activities that provide lasting value for Ohio ’s communities and history organizations, the effort has already generated an immense amount of interest and support, even garnering a Governor’s Directive in April. Today, the program is in danger of disappearing, as the Ohio Senate is considering cutting ALL FUNDING for the Society’s outreach activities from the state budget! The Civil War 150th, which would provide coordination, traveling exhibits, Civil War collections care, and technical assistance on various topics, would be shut down, and Ohio would be unrepresented in an important national effort to better delivery of community-based history programs. In addition, this funding cut would end important programs like Ohio History Day, the Local History Office, and others.

We need your help! Please contact your Ohio Senator immediately (Senators are finalizing the budget as I type) and tell them that this is unacceptable. The Society has seen ongoing, disproportionate cuts throughout past years, and these cuts will be the final blow to some of Ohio ’s most community-based and effective history programs. Please consider visiting the local senate office or placing a phone call, as these methods have the biggest impact. Send an email if you have limited time, and forward this message to others you feel would be interested, to help protect this and important programs. Here is a link to the OHS Legislative Update website that will provide you with all the information you need to communicate with your Senator (as well as the Governor and your state representative): http://capwiz.com/ohiohistory/home/ (after landing on this page, click on the Take Action button)

If you’d like more information on this, please feel free to contact me or our Government Relations Director, Todd Kleismit (tkleismit@ohiohistory.org, 614-297-2355).

In thanks,

Jackie Barton, Coordinator
Ohio Civil War 150 / Local History Office
Ohio Historical Society

I wish I could say that I’m surprised by this, but unfortunately, I can’t. The morons in Ohio’s legislature, who have no appreciation of history, always look to the OHS budget as the first place to cut. At this point, there’s really nothing left to cut, so the idiots have now slashed the funding for any attempt to recognize the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

This, of course, is the same legislature that refused to consider an eminent domain action to preserve Ohio’s only Civil War battlefield, and is also the same legislature that believes that the OHS should operate on a wing and a prayer. It’s also the same legislature that has been operating in contempt of the Ohio Supreme Court for years by refusing to legislate a new school funding system that is not unconstitutional, even though the Court has ordered it to do so more than once. I appreciate the critical budgetary situation in this state, and having lived here for 22 years, I likewise understand and appreciate the fact that the recession has hit Ohio harder than the vast majority of states. I get it that most states are having budget crises. So am I.

At the same time, this sort of thing will bring tourist dollars into Ohio, which, in turn, will generate tax revenue. It seems to me that some tax revenue being generated would be a good thing, and that Ohio should be proud of its contributions to the Union victory in the Civil War. Sadly, I am obviously wrong about this. Instead, the morons we elect–my particular idiot is named State Sen. David Goodman, who, unfortunately keeps getting himself re-elected by using sleazy, slimy campaign tactics–would rather fund their own pay raises.

Never mind that Ohio gave more men per capita than any other state in the Union. Never mind that three of the four Union generals considered the greatest of the war–Grant, Sherman and Sheridan–were all Ohioans. Never mind that Confederate prisoners of war died at Johnson’s Island and at Camp Chase here in Columbus. Never mind that Salmon P. Chase and Edwin M. Stanton were Ohioans. All of this is apparently irrelevant to our legislative geniuses.

For shame, Ohio State Senate. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. While the rest of the 35 states that made up the Union from 1861-1865 celebrate the sesquicentennial, we Ohioans will be on the sidelines, wondering why.

Scridb filter


  1. Mon 01st Jun 2009 at 4:28 pm

    With all of Ohio’s proud Civil War heritage, for instance, the All-Star line-up of Union generals that came from there, I find it incomprehensible that the state would ignore this obligation. I used to think that just the Cleveland Browns sucked, but now I am starting to broaden that disgust. Shame on you OH. My condolences Eric.

  2. Mon 01st Jun 2009 at 4:35 pm

    One has to wonder how we can continue to justify the massive spending in blood and treasure in Iraq and Afghanistan while our country apparently teeters on financial failure. The Soviet Union does not now exist mainly because they bankrupted themselves in Afghanistan. Are we to make the same mistakes? It is unconscionable that we should destroy our economy and fail to commemorate our own history as we prop up two failed states that are both tyranical sharia islamic law countries. We Americans claim to love our history but we never learn from it; we are clearly obsessed with the future, our friends always say that we are a “forward looking” country. But we are unprepared for the future because we do not learn from history. President Obama campaigned on withdrawing from Iraq at the earliest opportunity. Why are we still there? And why do we continue to allow our own country to sink into disrepair, despair, and fiscal crisis upon fiscal crisis as we gut our treasury to support two unsustainable fake democracies that are actually sharia law islamic law totalitarian states, the very opposite of what American democracy stands for, and the very opposite of what the soldiers of the Union fought for in 61-65.

  3. JE
    Mon 01st Jun 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Well said, Eric. ‘Shameful’ certainly is the proper word to describe the actions of the state legislature. I was a lifelong resident of Ohio up until a year ago when I moved to Pittsburgh area, and while I don’t have an affinity for the local sports teams, Pittsburgh and the state of Pennsylvania have thus far impressed me with their recognition and appreciation of history. Here’s hoping Ohio can get itself together in time for the 175th anniversary…

  4. Kent Dorr
    Mon 01st Jun 2009 at 5:56 pm

    What next? Selling Ohios rotting battle flags on EBay? For sale sign at the OHS museum/library? Ohio will need to spend extra $ on our highways to make it easier for folks to leave. Our community (Mansfield/Ontario) lost our GM plant today. Being an Ohioan is a tough lot these days.

  5. Mon 01st Jun 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Eric – I wholeheartedly agree, however it appears that Ohio is pretty much in line with most other states. According to an article in the latest issue of Civil War News, of the 44 states today that were states or territories during the ACW and contributed military units, only 6 have an active Sesquicentennial Commission and a dedicated web site.

    13 states appear to have some type of commission or legislation in the works (but no website) while a whopping 25 do not appear to have any active sesquicentennial organization, including AL, FL, LA, and Texas.

    How sad. Contemporary racial politics have obviously trumped our country’s long-standing tradition of remembering its past.

  6. dan
    Tue 02nd Jun 2009 at 12:19 am

    >Contemporary racial politics
    Your statement is entirely out of context and completely bizarre. I challenge you to provide one speck of evidence that supports your contention that the lack of commemoration of the Civil War has anything whatever to do with race. You cannot do it, because this economic-crisis driven matter is not a race matter at all.

  7. Tue 02nd Jun 2009 at 9:08 am

    While the current fiscal situation is an obvious reality, I do not think that many federal, state, and local politicians have failed to consider racial sensitivities, either. And it’s an aspect to the sesquicentennial that they should consider, for any remembrance must include those groups and topics that were totally ignored in 1961, especially African-Americans and the role of slavery. As a 2007 editorial in Civil War News pointed out, “much of the anger that is blocking meaningful national planning is tied to minorities who believed the Centennial was a pep rally for Southerners in our segregated society. Planning appears to be lacking today because politicians don’t think this is important enough to shake the hornet’s nest.”
    The sesquicentennial must honor all views, including the causes of the war, in an objective manner. As the Charleston City Paper writes (http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid:48498) regarding South Carolina’s efforts, “Organizers are hoping to dodge well-laid historical land mines, but it will be difficult to avoid some Civil War basics. While the prominent use of the Confederate flag may upset some, others may be riled by history lessons that call attention to slavery’s shameful role in the run-up to the war.” Unfortunately, South Carolina’s sesquicentennial group “has already struggled with finding the right mix of inclusion. After languishing for more than a year before the legislature considered it this spring, the law creating the commission received a few last minute tweaks over concerns about the number of black members.”
    Similar political concerns exist for private funding. According to Rodger Stroup, executive director of the SC Archives and History Center, “Private funding can be tricky given the lingering controversy over how central slavery was to the beginning of the war. People don’t want to be seen as promoting one side or the other or one issue or another.”(quoted in Post & Courier)
    It’s simply my opinion, based on what I’ve read in articles such as these over the past year or so that while money may be the main issue, many leaders also consider the idea of commemorating the Civil War a political hot potato, and therefore one that it’s simply easier to ignore.

  8. Scott Stemler
    Tue 02nd Jun 2009 at 9:28 am

    I recently visitied the battlefield at Chickamauga and took note of the number of Ohio units that fought there. Unfortunately, the current state governments either ignore their history or just do not care. Here in Pittsburgh we are faced with the possible closing of the Fort Pitt Museum and the Bushy Run Battlefield. It is sad that historic attractions/events are the first to suffer.

  9. PGW
    Tue 02nd Jun 2009 at 11:14 am

    Ohio (and all states) need to look at what is essential, and what is not…. commemorating the 150th anniversary is not essential…..i understand the importance of the war, and its importance to Ohio, but there are essential programs/services in jeopardy of not receiving funding. Would it be so bad to celebrate the 150th anniversary on the 151st, or 153rd, or for that matter the 160th anniversary? let’s focus on the programs/services that are truly needed, before funding optional, nice-to-have “stuff”.

  10. Tue 02nd Jun 2009 at 4:54 pm

    I am really not suprised, Ohio is not alone in celebrating, here in Rhode Island I am suprised people even know the war took place.

  11. Wed 03rd Jun 2009 at 1:38 am

    Here’s the rub…there is a VERY fine line between a good study of the events leading up to and during the “woah”{Thanks, Kay!} and a celebration of good over evil. I hope we don’t fall into that trap, or it won’t be pretty to be a southerner. Virginia is doing a pretty good job being impartial with their approach to date. I’m hoping others follow this path. And as Eric said, SHAME on those who let this opportunity pass by.

  12. Wed 03rd Jun 2009 at 10:58 pm

    The Issue of Non Participating States both North and South, failing to participate in an event like the Sesquicentennial is Tragic because of many reasons. The first of which is the yearning and passion of so many descendents to know about their Ancestors: Service, Sacrifice, Heritage, and Unit History.
    There are Tens of Thousands Dedicated Descendents, Students, Reenactors, and Historians who have studied about their Ancestor’s Regiment, the Areas and Battles they Fought In, or the Service they Performed. Your Web Site and The Thousands of Other Sites are Catalysts for Attracting Individuals Interest in Learning More and Knowing More about What Happened, and Who Were Involved in their Ancestors. Just like the Books that you write and the Passion that you share on the Web, there’s a Group of Followers who want to know more and hear more about their Ancestors.
    Seven years ago I founded a Military Web Site for Troops that were stationed at a Military Intelligence site in Darmstadt, Germany. Today, I have over 1,400 members on that site, and the latest “New Members” are the Children of the Troops that were in Germany in the Cold War or right after WWII. On a 3rd North Carolina Cavalry Site, there are more than 70 Descendents, and the Site is Growing. The purpose is to share the History and Heritage of the Regiment and to Tell the Story and Sacrifice of the Troops who served. Many of the Descendents come back again and again and again to view new material, and sometimes share some thoughts or share some material, such as a Photo of their Ancestor or Maybe some Letters.
    My Goal – to have hundreds of descendents participating and constantly uncovering new material that is new and fresh. More Importantly my Goal is to See Every Regiment, North & South, in the Civil War to Begin a Regimental Heritage Site, with Key Moderators Focused to Collobrate as a Team in Recovering Material, Authoring Publications, and Growing the Base of Those Interested in their Ancestry and Heritage.
    The Question That I have is This – “What Would Happen, if There was a Regimental Heritage Site, Where Descendents Could Participate” for Every Regiment – Both North and South?
    Why Is This Important? Key Individuals Pushing a Project Like this Across the Web, Using a Base of Similar Criteria, Can Explode the Numbers Who Will Become Very Fascinated with the Sesquicentennial and their Personal Study of Their Ancestor. The http://www.myfamily.com Family Network Operates Hundreds of Military Websites, and the New Beta Version Operates for only $30 Per Year. Groups such as UDC, SCV, and Others Could Guide their Members to this Project. Ads in Magazines could Funnel Interested Individuals in this Project. And, more importantly – Once Each Regimental Project takes on Shape and Character, It Can Explode with Activity and Members. Enough Seeds for the Project can be Planted Across the Web for a Dedicated Team to Launch Hundreds of Web Sites, All Dedicated to Digging Up Current Information and Arranging it for Sharing on the Web, and More Importantly – Turn up a Treasure Trove of New Content Including Letters, Stories, Newspaper Articles, and Other Valuable Content.
    Perhaps, a Dream that has Passion, is Affordable per Regiment @ $30 per year, can service hundreds or thousands of descendents, and Can Create a Treasure Trove of Information is Worthy of Pursuing. It is my Belief that that the More I can Convince that this Project is Worthy, the More that Descendents, All Over the Country Will Appreciate the Sesquicentennial as Presented by Empowered Individuals on the Web.
    If there is anyone who would like to see my Heritage Project: 3rd North Carolina Cavalry, 41st NCT – Please contact me by e-mail.
    Bobby Edwards

    Bobby Edwards

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