The first story involves the very regularly repeated statement in the press that the current, seemingly never ending War in Afghanistan is the longest war in US history. While it certainly seems never ending, it was going on for over 2 decades before the US had boots on the ground starting some 17 years ago. The last three supposedly as non combatants.
But the US was at war for a much longer period many years before that. And they'd even been at it since back in the mid 1700's in their push for more land.
Ask any native American historian and he or she can tell you about those battles. And no doubt they will give you an earful about how they,. and the white man each lost over 20,000 warriors between about 1840 and 1890 in the Indian Wars.
A period somewhat longer than 17 years!
And a period that saw over 70,000 combatants in well over 1400 battles and skirmishes. Complete with atrocities ON BOTH SIDES.
Regular blog readers will recall the stories here about the very first Medal of Honor, by date of deed, and how it went went to an Irishman, for bravery in battle... with the natives.
During the 3rd day of battle at Gettysburg the First Minnesota captured the flag from the Confederates and their state has held it ever since Civil War days, despite the oft repeated demand, request and even a guise to just let them borrow it back for awhile.
The First Mn. as told in many blogs of late lost about 275 men on the Gettysburg battlefield on the 2nd and 3rd days of battle. The captured flag was one of the trophies of those horrendous days and they, nor their state of late have no intentions to give it up.
Back in 1887, some 2 decades and more, after the war ended, there were several requests from Southern states to have their flags returned. Some got them, while others did not. In April of that year the Adjutant General, with support from the Secretary of War, appealed to the President for support on the flags being returned. He argued that flags at DC were collecting dust and ought to be returned. The president was not initially against the idea, and somehow it got out that approval was given to make it happen. Trouble is, firstly, all flags were not being discussed, just those at DC, and not saying no, does not mean yes.
Word was sent to all state officials saying they could be released. Then The Grand Army of the Republic and others created such a stir that it probably played a role in the President not getting re-elected. But he ordered that all efforts to return the flags cease.
Union officials for the most part argued that the flag would cause too much discontent back in original states. They represented such grief for the horrors of years gone by, and the nation had healed. Returning them would only reignite the fires of days past.
Even the former President of the Confederacy agreed with the President of the United States in 1887. Here's what he had to say in a Ohio Paper in July of that year...
A very exciting story about preserving the history of both the Canadians and the Americans will appear in this space next Sunday. It is the culmination of a lot of very hard and dedicated work and I hope you will join me to learn about it next Sunday.