by Justin Fabiano
Tuesday marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War - the firing on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Crowds of several hundred people gathered at the Charleston Battery yesterday to see booming cannons and hear colonial music to remember the start of the Civil War, one that tore the nation in two.
Now, 150 years later, the nation is still divided in its sentiments about the ceremonies. Some say it's about commemorating history; others say it's a celebration of slavery. But some people in Columbia say it shouldn't be that big a deal.
"If it is a celebration, it's a celebration of America getting past a barricade," USC NAACP President Dominick McNair said.
Even though McNair thinks remembering the Civil War shouldn't divide the nation like it does, some experts say it will always divide the nation.
"We have folks who think the war began in 1865, we have folks who think it ended in 1865," said Joe Long.
Long is the Curator of Education at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Museum.
The war can be that polarizing; 150 years after its start, people still debate who fired the first shot at Fort Sumter. You can debate just about any aspect about the war, but McNair thinks education is the most important thing to bridge the gap between opposing attitudes about remembering the war.
"One of the biggest misconceptions I think that a lot of people get is that the Civil War is completely about slavery," McNair said.
Long says the end of the war marked the beginning of new arguments.
"Thirty years after the war we were holding arguments instead of people trying to physically get revenge," he said.
And that's something Long said the nation should take a step back and realize.
"There was a lot of powder lit on fire at Fort Sumter," he said. "But no lead was flying."