Case in point:
Historians fight proposed Wilderness Wal-Mart
Orange, Va. (AP) -- Many of the nation's top historians are urging Wal-Mart not to build a 53-acre Supercenter complex near the Wilderness battlefield, the site of a pivotal Civil War skirmish.
The 253 historians who signed Wednesday's letter to the Bentonville, Ark., retailer included Pulitzer Prize winners David M. McCullough and James McPherson, Emmy-winning filmmaker Ken Burns and Edwin C. Bearss, chief historian emeritus of the National Park Service.
They're asking Wal-Mart to move its complex farther away from the currently proposed distance of within a quarter mile of the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. [link]
I have to tell you, it pains me to know that I'm on the opposite side of this issue from four of the five most renowned Civil War historians alive today - well, three and Ken Burns - (Virginia Tech's James I. Robertson's name is conspicuously absent from this article and both Douglas Southall Freeman and Shelby Foote are dead).
But wih them I disagree.
And my disagreement goes to the heart of their objection, to be found in that "...proposed distance of within a quarter mile of the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park." Hell, there's not an acre of property in this state - including my 22 - that don't have ties to Civil War history (even here in remote Bland County - the Raleigh Grayson Turnpike that circles around my property was used by Union cavalry in 1864 to reach Wytheville, the intentions of which were to burn the train station, which they did; and Civil War Captain Andrew Jackson Grayson, Company E, 52nd Virginia Volunteers, lays at rest within eyesight. Preserve it!). If we were to try and set aside areas of the state "within a quarter of a mile" of some significant Civil War site, we might as well declare the whole state one big park and kick every business and homeowner out.
Look Ken, James, David, and Edwin (can we historians be on a first-name basis?), history is best left in the history books. Let other histories be made. We have parks (and libraries/museums) to house memorabilia. That will have to suffice. As much as we'd like to preserve the past, it's history.
Live with it.