Unionville HS hosts event focused on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
Participating in a Oct. 17 panel discussion with Unionville High School students on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War are, from left, Chris Densmore, Frank McNally, Ernie Milner, Walter Eckman, Cody Stafford and Fran Mulhern.  (Candice Monhollan)

Participating in a Oct. 17 panel discussion with Unionville High School students on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War are, from left, Chris Densmore, Frank McNally, Ernie Milner, Walter Eckman, Cody Stafford and Fran Mulhern. (Candice Monhollan)

EAST MARLBOROUGH — November marks the 150th celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and in honor of that, Unionville High School celebrated the nation’s 16th president with a panel discussion about Lincoln and the Civil War.

Dozens of students attended the Oct. 17 event, which began with the showing of the Steven Spielberg’s award-winning movie “Lincoln” followed immediately by a panel discussion.

“The very fact that many people turned out and stayed until 9:30 on an issue like this, as opposed to seeing a rock star, tells you there’s still hope,” said Ernie Milner, a member of the Kennett Civil War Roundtable. “We read and we talk, but among our peers. To pass that on and to generate some interest in high school kids and to see the knowledge they have here at Unionville, it’s impressive.”

… [Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]

The panel consisted of six members: Milner, Frank McNally, Chris Densmore, Fran Mulhern, Walter Eckman and Cody Stafford. Each has their own expertise on the Civil War or Lincoln, and Mulhern and Stafford are teachers at the high school.

One thing they all have in common is their passion for learning about the war.

“Sadly, 650,000 were killed and many, many more maimed for life,” said McNally, a member of the Kennett Civil War Roundtable. “Who could be a better example of good government than Lincoln? It’s more than just interesting; it really is a lesson in what our country stands for.”

Sometimes the Civil War can be buried in a curriculum that has to cover roughly 520 years of American history since the time of Christopher Columbus or earlier with the Native Americans.

But having a night like this focused specifically on the Civil War and even more on Lincoln is something Milner believes should be done because of the impact the war had on the country.

“In the Revolution we still didn’t have a country, and then after that, most of our wars were in conjunction with other countries. But this brought about the largest number of Americans ever killed,” Milner said. “It was also pivotal as to where we would go as a nation. We were still trying to figure out the basic things from the beginning of the Revolution until the Civil War. Then we settled some things.”

McNally, another member of the Kennett Civil War Roundtable agreed with the Civil War’s importance.

“It’s just a repeating lesson,” McNally said. “Sometimes it helps us to take a step forward in civilization. The Civil War is probably the best example of that. We freed over four million slaves in the South and changed the Constitution.”

The panel left the students with a better knowledge of Lincoln and the Civil War and they hope they could have sparked more of an interest in them.

Milner went one step further and left the students with a mission to study events leading up to the war as well to avoid having this kind of history repeat itself.

“Rather than focusing on the battles and conflict, I think the real thing we should study is why we were unable to avoid it,” he said. “Look at all the attempts we made; and yet human beings, being what we are, couldn’t come to a reasonable conclusion on something which eventually got settled, but settled at a price.”

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Categories: Community, Education

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