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Posted at 7:21 PM ET, 01/28/2011

Wal-Mart and the Wilderness

By Stephen Anderson, Locust Grove

Regarding the Jan. 27 news story “Wal-Mart abandons its plan to build store near Civil War battlefield”:

As one of those who criticized Wal-Mart’s plans to develop a retail complex near the Wilderness Civil War battlefield, let me be among the first to applaud the retailer’s decision to preserve the property instead. Some may argue that the company should have reached that decision months ago, but I am just thankful it finally made the right choice. Whatever the reason, the land has been saved, and that is what truly matters.

As we begin the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, I hope Wal-Mart and local preservation groups can work together to make that parcel of land accessible to the public and treat it with the respect it deserves. I also hope Wal-Mart can work with Orange County to find a more suitable location for its store.

Despite what some have claimed, this battle was never about keeping Wal-Mart out of Orange County. It was always about saving historically significant land near a major battlefield site.

By Stephen Anderson, Locust Grove  | January 28, 2011; 7:21 PM ET
Categories:  Virginia, history  
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I only hope that our elected official will in the future chose another way to select a site rather than the one they did. We have a responsibility to preserve and remember the sacrifices made here over 150 years ago. We must not forget these men whose lives were lost in defence of freedom. Thank you Wal-Mart for your responsibile actions.

Posted by: jimoyler | January 29, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I agree. Thank you.

Posted by: cococo | January 29, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

It never ceases to amaze me the near-Biblical significance Civil War fanatics (those who play dress-up and those who don't) attach to the battlefields. Every square inch of Europe, much of Asia and the Western Pacific, and nearly all of the Middle East are battlefields - fortunately saner heads prevail there and the land hasn't been declared sacred.

The soldiers who were killed on those battlefields did not die to preserve those battlefields as monuments. And while they died for many reasons, "freedom" isn't one of them...unless you consider "free to own slaves" to be a flavor or freedom.

The Union soldiers were fighting to hold the Union together and to teach the South a lesson. Very few of them fought to "free" anybody or anything. The Confederate soldiers were fighting to hold onto the seriously flawed economic model of slavery.

While I share the joy of Wal-Mart going away (and they can't possibly go too far away), that opens the possibility that someday in the future those battlefields will be put to use in a way that perfectly reflects the nature of the ground. Yep, I'm talking golf courses. Maybe use gray flags for the front nine and blue flags for the back nine to appease the Civil War buffs.

Posted by: kemp13 | January 29, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

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