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Monday, October 27, 2014

New Liberty Videos - Review

One of the easiest ways to incorporate something new into our school day is through a video.  So, we were happy to try out New Liberty Videos DVD called Warriors of Honor - The Faith and Legacies of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

Videos are especially looked forward to because we are still (mostly) doing the no T.V. during the week thing.  This video is a  documentary and covers some of the major battles of the Civil War, but it also gives some personal insight into the lives of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, including the fact that they were both faithful Christians.
I will admit that is something that I had never thought of before.  I am not sure if it is because I grew up in the North (Minnesota), but there was always the mentality that the North were the good guys and that we were looking out for the slaves.  On the flip side, the South were the bad guys that thought slavery was perfectly acceptable.

But, some parts of this video made me question that belief.  (General Sherman was kind of a jerk.)
Warriors of Honor showed me that it wasn't quite that clear cut, or forgive and white....nor is it meant to "whitewash" the sins of the North.....or the South. 
I watched this with my three youngest, A-man, S-girl, and V-girl.  It is about 80 minutes long, so we watched it in about 20 minute sections.  There was some pretty heavy material in this.  True, historical information, but, some was pretty heavy.
The videos are for "general" audiences.  So, there are probably some people that wouldn't want their children to watch this video, nor would they want to explain some of the content.
Since moving from Minnesota to Georgia, some of these things we have very general terms.....already.  But, I will admit, some of this documentary was difficult to watch....and....explain to the kids.
Once they figured out what were "real" pictures and what were re-enactments, (The still pictures were real and the movies were re-enactments) I had some difficult conversations to have.  There were quite a few disturbing scenes from the real pictures.

Dead men.

Some dead men that looked very, very young.

Not glamorized versions of war.  But, real pictures of the men that fought this fight.  Pictures of men that that were sons, brothers, and dads. 

That little fact right there sort of stopped the kids in their tracks.  That was a real person, not an actor pretending to be dead, but a man that was somebody's dad.....laying in the field....dead.....and was never going to go home and see his kids again. 

This documentary is probably more suited to an older audience, but I am still glad I watched it with the little ones.  They were shocked that there was a war, right at a church.  The Dunker Church in Sharpsburg, MD.  It was a horrible, bloody battle.  My kids couldn't believe that they were just standing outside a church and shooting each other.  The mind of a child, huh?  I had never thought of it that way before. 

Modern photo of Dunker Church with cannon
(The Dunker Church, photo courtesy of the National Park Service)

Yes, I had to have some difficult discussions about slavery, government involvement, and, even how Christians can be fighting a war on opposite sides....and still think they are doing the right thing. 

I found a lot of interesting items through this documentary that I either never learned....or forgot once I passed the test.  Things like the war was really more about a clash of cultures, not necessarily North vs. South.  That the South believed in independence and didn't want the government too involved in their lives, whereas, the North embraced the government. (hmmm....maybe I do belong in the South)

I found it sad that 17% of the soldiers from the North and 33% of those from the South died during the Civil War.  Sad.

I really enjoyed the narration, that shared their actual words.....usually from letters written to wives or children.  It really gave a glimpse into their hearts and thought processes during this historical time period...and made them very human.  It also made me sad for the loss of good, old fashioned letter writing!  (Make sure to pay attention to the end of the movie where a Union soldier describes his meeting with General Lee after the Battle of Gettysburg.)

This DVD also has bonus segments on Slavery (not just black people), Sam Davis (Brave...and the letter to his mother.....sigh....)and The Palmyra Incident (Uggg....horrible).

I have a confession to make.  We have lived in Georgia for 5 years.  We have lived in the same town for that whole time.  This statue has been there the whole time.  We were in our town for the scarecrow contest, just happily strolling along looking at the funny scarecrows local businesses had put together for the contest.  We had to walk through the center of the square, to get to some of the entries......and there he was. 

General Robert E. Lee.

I have noticed it, but never paid  much attention to it.


To our Confederate soldiers,
Those who fell in fiercest fighting and sleep beneath the sod of every Southern state.  Those who have passed away in the after years of peace, and whose ashes now hallow old Henry's Hill sides, Those who like a benediction, still limp in our our midst.  May God preserve forever in our hearts, their memory and in all minds, a knowledge of their motives and their cause.
It was interesting.  It sort of brought it all home that the Civil War was real.

That real battles happened near where we are living.

People died.

It was real.

It is real.

The Civil War wasn't such a black and white issue.

Warriors of Honor  was a good supplement to our school.  It would be a GREAT addition to a Civil War unit.  While it will be most greatly enjoyed by your older children, especially those truly interested in history, even the ones who are bored by history will be able to find items of interest in the movie.  It really made this Northern girl rethink a few things.  It really did.

You can get a copy of Warriors of Honor for $19.95.  
There are other videos available that other TOS reviewers watched.  Take a look at what they thought of the other New Liberty Videos.

This is the perfect movie for history buffs.