Friday, May 27, 2005

The Blue And The Gray Meet Again

I found this little tidbit [bugmenot id: cypherpunks[at] password: clpherpunks] about eighth graders in Green, Ohio, who are re-enacting Civil War Battles using water balloons and squirt guns:
In 1862, Ben Hawk's great-great-great uncle, a Confederate general during the Civil War, bled to death at the Battle of Shiloh.

On Friday, Hawk joined 89 eighth-grade classmates to launch thousands of water balloons and squirt water guns in a Civil War re-enactment.

And like his uncle, Hawk, 14, chose to fight Confederate.

At Friday's 11th annual encampment, eighth-graders wore tie-dyed shirts -- red and gray for Confederates, red and blue for Yankees -- to re-enact Pickett's Charge of 1863 in a field behind Green Intermediate School.

To the sound of a Union drummer and the occasional Civil War-era rifle blast, teams of four braced themselves against the force of rubber-rope-and-funnel slingshots, aimed and fired about 60 yards, over smoke bombs, to the opposing side -- slap, splash, laugh.

The experience, originally proposed jokingly by a student, has since inspired numerous "soldiers" and re-enactors, and led to a Civil War class at the high school, said language arts teacher Dan Huff, who teams up with history teacher Shannon Dinan to teach the four-week Civil War unit.

Dinan does her best to present both sides, but Huff's Southern bias is well-known; three of his uncles also fought for the Confederacy.

"What I'm trying to do is take the Confederate flag back from the racists. That flag was never a banner of hate nor of slavery," Huff said, adding that freed blacks made up 10 percent of the Confederate force. "The kids pick their own sides. This year, I had to recruit Yankees, I did such a good job."
As a history teacher myself, I have to question Huff's assertion that free blacks made up 10% of the Confederacy's fighting forces.

With all those slingshot-thrown waterballoons flying about, I can't help but think that this is a liability lawsuit just waiting to happen.'s a good thing whenever kids are motivated to learn more about history.

I suppose that next year, the South will Rise Again.

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