In just a few years, our nation will begin to commemorate the 250th anniversaries of the most significant events surrounding the Revolutionary War — milestones that will provide excellent opportunities to broaden our understanding of our own history and to share that history with a new generation.
So we’re encouraged by the progress of H.R. 1286, the Southern Campaign of the Revolution National Heritage Corridor Act, which would provide about $10 million to protect, restore, promote and interpret an 8-mile-wide corridor that spans several hundred miles in South Carolina and North Carolina.
The route would cover almost three dozen battlefields and other key sites, from Charleston’s outskirts up through the Midlands and the Upstate before crossing into North Carolina and then heading back toward the coast. The U.S. House of Representatives was expected to approve it on Tuesday; we urge the Senate to act favorably as well.
If approved, this effort would complement South Carolina’s ongoing Liberty Trail project, which highlights how critical battles fought in the state’s swamps, fields, woods and mountains ultimately played an important role in the British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, and our victory in the Revolutionary War.
Doug Bostick, director of the South Carolina Battlefield Preservation Trust, testified before a congressional subcommittee in support of the act. He noted that National Park Service grants already have helped purchase and preserve at least a dozen S.C. Revolutionary War battlefield sites, and this federal effort would include financial support for interpreting them and others. “All boats go up on a rising tide, and this is another way the tide is going to rise,” he tells us.
U.S. Rep. James Clyburn has been one of the act’s biggest supporters. “The American victory at Kings Mountain in South Carolina was once described by a British commander as ‘the first link in a chain of evils that ended in the total loss of America,’ ” he recently told his colleagues. “When we hear the story of the American Revolution, we don’t often learn of the war’s Southern Campaign or applaud the dramatic impact that campaign had. ... This legislation seeks to connect these sites to tell this under-recognized story.”
We agree. South Carolina has made steady progress in protecting and interpreting its Revolutionary War sites; by some measures, there were more armed conflicts and skirmishes here than in any other state, more than 200 in total.
We should build on that remarkable story of bravery, sacrifice and yearning for freedom.
Not only does this history of this seminal conflict hold the key to understanding the birth of our nation and the creation of America’s unique identity, but we believe our communal remembrance presents a golden opportunity to rekindle a sense of national unity at a time when we badly need it.