Last night Scott, Emily and I went out to a great Greek restaurant ( I even had a gift certificate from a student... nice!) After dinner we took one of our random car drives that we do when we don't know an area of town well. We ended up in downtown Columbia, which Scott knows rather well. We drove by the state house, or capitol building, and we decided to stop because we had never really walked around it before.
It was really wonderful. First of all, there were no thunderstorms, and the heat and humidity took an evening off, so the walk itself was great. The gardens around the buildings were immaculate, and that was great to look at in itself.
By the history. Oh, the history. There were so many different statues, and monuments, and plaques to read. Scott was in high-heaven. Eventually as it neared her bed time, Emily went off to sleep, and Scott and I were left to read everything at our leisure. Of course there were the statues that were unveiled in the late 1870's from groups like "women of the South" that spoke of the "tragedy" and the horrific outcome of the civil war. The pride of the south is so evident in those statues and plaques, and of course we all know the confederate flag still flies at the capitol, which is pride as well. And there is also an annoying large statue of Strom Thurman, and plaques all the way around making him out to be the savior of the world.
There were also markers of where the original state building stood before the Yankees burned it down. There is also an old grave of a Revolutionary war hero on the grounds with a fence around it. The original grave marker is there, with a modern marker going around it to explain what the worn marker said. There was also a great african-american bronze monument that went through the various changes for blacks in our history. It was beautiful.
I guess I felt kind of guilty living here almost a year and not ever really paying close attention to the history everywhere. Sure, I noticed the remains of the original bridge that was burned by Sherman, which now is part of the zoo, and I drive by neighborhoods where new houses have been built on old family land where family plots still mark the dead.
I hope that this next year I can find more time to look for more of the history that is everywhere, especially living here in South Carolina. I don't want to move away years from now and look back and think, "Why didn't I take better advantage of learning more of U.S. History while I was living right in the middle of where so many events took place."