During my Orientation talk yesterday afternoon, a couple from Australia was sitting right up front. Half way through the talk, I paused to see if any of the visitors had questions. The Australian gentleman raised his hand and asked, “Forgive me for not knowing this already, but which side was fighting for slavery?”
I told the gentleman that it was the Confederacy which seceded over the issue of slavery, and it was the Confederacy that, if they won, would perpetuate slavery and spread the practice into new areas. A few visitors from Texas in the back noted their disagreement with me, but, they were about as polite and cordial as one could possibly expect (I wish all visitors were as friendly when disagreeing with me!). I had a great conversation with them after the program.
Later in the day, a bus of visitors from the Netherlands stopped by the Visitor Center, and after conversing with them, as well as with the Australian gentleman’s question in mind, I have to say: I truly enjoy talking to visitors from other countries. It is, perhaps, one of my favorite things about being a park ranger. The perspective that travelers from across the world bring to American history sites, especially those of the Civil War, give us an outside glimpse of how the world views our history.
Now, I’m off to another day of working the best job in the world.