Civil War Revisited gives students living history lesson

FRESNO, Calif.

It's a history lesson in living color-- as union and confederate soldiers in full gear walk the grounds at Kearney Park giving kids an up close look at what life was like during the civil war.

"CANON!!!"

"I think it's time traveling in the past instead of looking in the history books," a Riverview 8th Grader Nicholas Chagoya said.

The annual Civil War Revisited kicked off Friday with "education day." Hundreds of students from throughout the valley visited dozens of learning stations at the park for personal lessons from characters from long ago.

"We're letting them hear the voices as much as we can the widest spectrum of people during the civil war," Fresno Historical Society member Sharon Hiigel said.

The buffalo soldier is a new component of this year's event teaching kids about the contributions of black soldiers.

"We were given a lot of the tasks that a lot of the white soldiers did not want such as guarding wagon trains and putting up telephone lines," Buffalo Soldier Larry Thorton said. "It gives me a great satisfaction to be able to share what some of my grandfathers have done and how they served our country"

Teacher and parent Susanne Knutson calls the presentation a unique tool that helps make history more real and relevant for students. "It's so fun to be able to hear the confederate side and the union side-- together in one presentation. Kids can't believe how different it was."

10-year-old Hannah Watkins was impressed. "They showed how they shot the canon and everything and that was really cool."

Maybe just as cool was the picture and the sound advice she and her classmates received from the president known as honest Abe, "... Above all-- be honest in all things that you do. It will serve you well all of your life..."

"I think it's really fun and they're teaching us a lot," Watkins said.

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