Growing up in Sarepta, La., country music superstar Trace Adkins heard stories of his great-great grandfather Henry T. Morgan’s military service. This personal connection to the past spurred his life-long passion for history, a love that today brought him to Capitol Hill to testify before Congress regarding the importance of protecting historic sites, particularly Civil War battlefields. Alongside Civil War Trust president James Lighthizer, Adkins declared these years of the Civil War sesquicentennial anniversary “the opportune time to redouble efforts to forever protect these hallowed grounds.”
Both Adkins and Lighthizer had been invited before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies to testify to the importance of federal involvement in battlefield land preservation initiatives through the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program, a highly successful public-private partnership and matching grants program responsible for the permanent protection of more than 16,500 acres of battlefield land.
Trace Adkins is an advocate of preservation, not only in an effort to honor the past but as lessons for the future. Today he summarized his testimony by saying, “American battlefields serve as monuments to what can happen when political wisdom fails and our differences are allowed to escalate beyond reason.”
Fans of Trace’s music also know that he is an avid historian and supporter of the troops. Most recently, Adkins was joined by the West Point Glee Club at the Grand Ole Opry where they sang Trace’s “Til the Last Shot’s Fired,” which they originally recorded together in 2009.
During the same hearing today, Lighthizer of Civil War Trust, the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving America’s remaining Civil War battlefields, spoke about the myriad preservation success stories made possible through the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program. Since it was first funded in FY1999, the grants from the program have been used to protect 16,500 acres of hallowed ground in 14 states. Among the many battlefields that have benefited are: Antietam, Md.; Averasboro, N.C.; Chancellorsville, Va.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Corinth, Miss.; Harpers Ferry, W.Va.; and Perryville, Ky.
Both Lighthizer and Adkins encouraged members of Congress to allocate funds for battlefield preservation now and in the coming years, in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 30,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states. Learn more at www.civilwar.org.