Literacy and Liberty

Memorial Hall
Posted by: , October 3, 2018, 2:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I was always aware and intrigued by Dickinson’s rich and vibrant history, but after visiting Memorial Hall in Old West I have a new understanding of how Dickinson College helped shape the past that we constantly study. It is a quaint little memorial, but it offers more than meets the eye. As soon as you walk in, there is a huge plaque dedicated to the students of Dickinson College who fought during the Civil War. This is an amazing part of Dickinson history because so many people who went to the same college as I do fought in the most famous American war ever. Some students even lost their lives. What is most compelling about the memorial is the recognition of both the Union and Confederate soldiers. It’s astonishing that students from the same school fought on both sides of the war.

Moving on, located on the other side of the room was a WWII memorial. Once again, I looked the staggering number of young men who served this country during that terrible time in history. A lot of them didn’t make it home. I tried to think about what their lives would have been like at Dickinson during that time period. I tried to think about what the college would have been like. Above all, I thought about how lucky I am that I was born during a time period where our nation is not at war and how safe I am generally. These men helped shape the world we know today by fighting evil, as did the women who contributed to the end of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan by building the necessary tools used to defeat them. They are forever enshrined on this plaque.

There was another plaque dedicated to those who, more recently than the Civil War or WWII, served in Operation Desert Storm. Men and women alike from Dickinson stepped up to serve their country. Being a more recent time where America fought to preserve freedom, I thought about how this related to the other plaques. I thought about the evolution of the campus and its people, and how Dickinson never stopped being part of American history throughout the years.

Visiting this memorial reminded me of how I take my freedom for granted, and how I should be using that freedom as far as it can take me. I am proud to go to the same college as these brave men and women did.

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Evan, thanks for sharing your response to these Old West memorials, which lines up with the realizations you describe in your literacy narrative, too. A genuine question for you to consider: what is at stake in describing the US Civil War as “the most famous American war”?

   Professor Seiler 10.08.18 @ 2:03 pm

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