Archive for Our Stories
Walter J. Lord, a native of Irving, Texas, who will soon be celebrating his 82nd birthday, recently submitted to the AMERICAN EXPERIENCE "Share Your Story" feature. In response to the question "Who is the Greatest Civil War General?" he attached a scanned image of a yellowed piece of paper with Appomattox Court House, Va printed across the top and an official looking seal on the left. "What can you tell me about this pass?" Lord wrote. "Is it real?"
I am a certified history nerd. I take all history classes, read history blogs, go on long Wikipedia adventures, and even regale people I have barely met with random historical facts. I have not always been this way, however; in fact, there was a time that for me the word "history" was synonymous with the most painful extremes of boredom.
We stumbled upon the blog of one of our Facebook friends, Mac Engel, who yesterday posted an article called "Top 5 Manliest Ways to Go Out..." The blog post was inspired by the recent news of a man being mauled by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. The staff here was amused to find that three of the five "manliest ways to die" were the subjects of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE documentaries.
Sometimes specific holidays can take on special and personal meanings for people -- Memorial Day for the family of a fallen soldier, Labor Day for a refugee that used to work 14-hour days in a sweatshop. For me, the 4th of July has a special meaning -- not because I'm a born-and-bred American, but rather because that is precisely what I am not. The U.S. is my country because I chose it.
On July 7, 1865, three men and one woman were hanged for the crime of conspiring to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. After the surrender of Confederate general Robert E. Lee and the announcement that Lincoln would serve a second term as president, John Wilkes Booth, a young southern actor and patriot of the Confederacy, began plotting the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. After hearing the announcement that President Lincoln would be attending a performance at the Ford Theater, Booth assigned the tasks of assassinating both Secretary of State William Seward and Vice President Andrew Johnson to a group of fellow conspirators. Although it was Booth who fired the bullet that killed the 16th president, this group of eight lesser-known conspirators aided Booth his scheme.