Pennsylvania's rich history is at center stage this week both in Gettysburg, site of the pivotal battle of the Civil War, and in Philadelphia, the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
This is the 150th anniversary of the three-day Civil War battle that repulsed the South's invading army commanded by Gen. Robert E. Lee. C-SPAN has had excellent coverage of the events at the Gettysburg National Historical Park, giving Americans the opportunity to learn more about the battle through the words and commentary of NPS guides, authors and historians. Visitors to the park get to experience the events of July 1-3 firsthand as they walk those hallowed grounds of the bloody struggle which President Lincoln called "that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion."
Those words are part of Lincoln's most famous speech, the address he gave in Gettysburg four months after the battle to consecrate the field which had a staggering 51,000 casualties.
The old Mauch Chunk Gazette, ancestor to this newspaper, realized the significance of that battle and Lincoln's speech 150 years ago when it stated that the park is a "tribute to the gallant men who laid down their lives for the sake of the country and to save the great state of Pennsylvania from spoilation."
The lessons of courage, honor and sacrifice are being preserved by groups like the Gettysburg Foundation in Adams County, which partnered with the National Military Park to give us this week's educational and interpretive programs to mark the anniversary. C-SPAN also deserves credit for covering the events and preserving them in their video archives.
The ability to inspire our children and make them inquisitive about our past is important to our historical preservation. Conservative commentator and former Governor Mike Huckabee has created a video series for children or parents to do just that. His web site, called Learn Our History, provides facts behind the most influential people and events from our nation's past.
In the animated history series, a group of students travel back in time to see American history being made. The visual timelines help children understand the chain of events and help them better remember the major historical figures, places and moments that forged this nation.
A team of U.S. historians and educators developed the Learn Our History videos. The series avoids the liberal bias found in many school textbooks these days. Instead, it presents history from a patriotic and faith-based perspective.
In this age of multimedia, we have more opportunities than ever to learn more about the people who fought for our freedoms to bring us where we are today. Whether it's watching the C-SPAN coverage from Gettysburg or accessing Gov. Huckabee's Learn Our History's web site, Americans are blessed to have these valuable resources that can connect us to the American experience.
By Jim Zbick