As the Junior Fellows reached the final day of our Southern Culture Tour, we had the rare occasion of honoring Veteran’s Day by touring the Battlegrounds of Vicksburg in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Both of my grandfathers are Veterans from major wars, so today was a great way for me to actually see what soldiers have to face while in combat, fighting for our freedom. The Battle of Vicksburg is one of the most well-known battles of the Civil War because it is the battle where the Confederate States fully surrendered to the Union. The Vicksburg Tour that we went on today was a seventeen-mile drive through the park with monuments commemorating the states and the military branches that participated in the battle.
The first memorial we came across was the State of Illinois. The sight of the Illinois memorial is perhaps the most interesting in the park. Leading to the dome there are forty-seven steps, representing the number of days in the battle.
The dome was beautiful, with a steel-walled interior that was engraved with the names of the fallen. Not only was the memorial spectacular, but it provided us an incredible view of the hills that Civil War soldiers once roamed.
We also had a chance to view the Texas Monument, which was also amazing.
Reflecting over the last five days, I still think Savannah, Georgia was my favorite stop. It was beautiful city full of history, unique architecture, and of course, good Paula Deen Southern food! I also really enjoyed the night life that New Orleans has to offer. I, myself, will be making a road trip very shortly to enjoy more of New Orleans, now that I know what all is there.
The Southern Culture Tour with the Junior Fellows has been an educational and wonderful experience for me. I am very grateful for the opportunity to broaden my horizons and actually experience first- hand, with awesome friends, southern history that was portrayed in my history books over the years. I didn’t realize until now that I took for granted of the fact that Americans fought in so many battles, whether it be for state’s rights or civil rights. The next time you find yourself going through these southern states, I highly recommend that you stop and take a look at all of the history the south has to offer. It will change your perspective of freedom, just like it did for me.