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Re-enacting something that never happened?
May 21, 2008 - Jody Murphy
This weekend at Mountwood Park Civil War re-enactors will be staging the "Battle for Volcano."
Organizers of the event are calling it a re-enactment. The problem is there is nothing to re-enact!
There never was a battle for Volcano.
I have no problem with Civil War buffs gathering at Mountwood in period clothing to discuss the life and times of soldiers and civilians, but re-enacting a battle that never happened - despite the silly idea that it "just as easily could have" - does little good for the historical education of West Virginians.
Twenty years from now, if the mythical "Battle for Volcano" continues, I guarantee people will think it was a real battle that took place during the Civil War.
In a weekend article in the News and Sentinel, Mountwood Park's director of marketing said the understanding of history is vital to society. The director even goes so far as to repeat a common quote: "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
The problem here is Mountwood isn't repeating history. It is simply making it up.
This marketing ploy is the same type of creative thinking that Point Pleasant uses to tout itself (incorrectly) as home of the first battle of the American Revolution. In reality, the Battle of Point Pleasant was the last battle of Dunmore's War.
And don't forget about those few folks who believe (incorrectly) Stonewall Jackson was born here in Parkersburg.
Then there is my old seventh grade history book "A Panorama of West Virginia" which taught us (again, incorrectly) Indians did not live in West Virginia, they only came to the area, part-time to hunt and fish.
No sense letting the facts get in the way of a good story - or in this case good marketing.
History is subject to interpretation, but not out-an-out fiction.
Let's be true to our history. West Virginia has a lot of great historical things going for it, we shouldn't have to make things up.
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