I looked forward with great anticipation in traveling with my son to some memorable places in the South, an area rich in culture and history that is fast being forgotten in an era of mass consumerism and living for the moment. The South is different place. It is a place where things are slower and the people seem to be more laid back.
My travels took me through the upper deep South with stops in Vicksburg, Tuscaloosa, Chattanooga, Nashville and areas of western Tennessee before coming back home. It was here that we went to various sites where major Civil War battles took place. Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Stones River and Shiloh ring in the memory of many down here where even 150 years after the fact, the scars are still present. The remnants of trenches are still seen at Vicksburg where Union troops dug in for several months of siege before the confederates surrendered the town on July 4, 1863, a date which was the beginning of the end for the Southerners.
Chickamauga and Shiloh were bloody affairs where thousands died in the battles and the massive rows of graves are prominent in those areas as well as Stones River. It is my firm belief that while the Union was saved, the Republic that we have read in the history books was shattered forever. One need only to watch the inane acceptance speeches of both parties during the past few weeks to see that even the ghosts of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Clay, Calhoun and Webster are fast leaving us.
The South still has the magic of past in it with folks saying “Sir” and Ma’am” to each other, listening to country music on stations such as WSM out of Nashville and folks gobbling up hash browns at Waffle House along the interstate. The weather was hot and humid, but the sounds and the winds of the night air seem to impress my mind with memories that will last the rest of my lifetime.
Good ole Rocky Top indeed.