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Our View: Learn more about American history

In less than a month, the Bradshaw-Chambers County Library will be taking a group of interested participants on a bus trip to visit the historic Horseshoe Bend National Military Park.

The trip is scheduled for May 13, and is sure to be educational and enlightening for those who take part. On Wednesday, Park Ranger Matthew Robinson spoke at a Lunch ‘N’ Learn program at the library, and discussed the sites that will be seen on the bus tour while sharing history related to park.

For some, historical and biographical information can be mundane and a dreary affair. Admittedly, it can be hard to get too excited when discussing events that took place about 200 years ago. Historical information isn’t often at the forefront of our minds, which makes opportunities like this one special. The library is providing an opportunity for an unfiltered day to learn about the important history of our region, including the good and the bad, the hardships and accomplishments.

Horseshoe Bend saw the regional spotlight during the 1813-14 Creek War in Alabama. The defeat of the Creek Indians at the hands of American militia forces from Tennessee and Georgia, led by eventual President Andrew Jackson, led directly to the Treaty of Fort Jackson, which forced the Creek nation to hand over more than 22 million acres of land in what is now Georgia and Alabama.

Looking back on American history should bring with it a mix of pride tinged with regret, to be sure.

The men who founded our nation were great men, to be sure, but deeply flawed like we all are today. The treatment of the Native Americans, specifically under Jackson when he was President in the late 1830s, was undeniably abhorrent and led to the mass exodus of multiple tribes and the death of more than 10,000 people. That cannot be denied, but also should not be kept under wraps. We must look at our past for what it is.

Horseshoe Bend marks the site of a historic battle that was won by American forces and led directly to the young country acquiring the land we are walking on today.

It was also a battle led by a man who would later oversee a dark moment in America’s history — the Trail of Tears. It is difficult to mention one event without the other.

History, like everything else, is complicated and layered, with different viewpoints painting different pictures of past events.

Whatever the past may hold, they will not be found unless they are looked for.

This is why a trip to Horseshoe Bend is a good and honorable trip to make, and we hope you will consider going to learn more about our nation’s history.