This time of year when it’s just a matter of time before snow whitens
Vermont’s mountain tops, it’s possible to think of other, higher
mountains. Howard Coffin remembers a
childhood hero who almost climbed the highest mountain on earth.
Each year tens of thousands of people seeking a fascinating chapter in
American history travel to a thinly settled part of the west where the
Seventh Cavalry came to grief. Two Vermonters were recently among them,
at the Big Horn Battlefield National Park. One of them was Howard Coffin.
On Monday, we observe the 150th anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Antietam – an event in which Vermont troops fought, and one that Howard Coffin says led to a fundamental change in American values.
Given that we’re
observing the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, Howard Coffin is thinking
of those who lost their lives in that conflict – and the Vermont family
that suffered the greatest losses – north or south.
One hundred and fifty years ago, America was
torn apart by Civil War before the union was finally restored in 1865.
Since that time, preservation of the many historical sites associated
with that struggle has been a challenge. Historian and commentator
Howard Coffin reflects on how one Vermonter in particular contributed
to that effort.