Congratulations to everyone involved in the planning and implementation of events connected with the 150th anniversary of Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence. The events hit the perfect tone for commemorating a pivotal day in Lawrence history.
Exhibits and talks offered wonderful opportunities to learn more about the raid and gain a better understanding of its place in American history and its ongoing impact on our community. Sunday night’s event was a quintessential Lawrence gathering. South Park, a staging area for the bloody raid, was filled with Lawrence residents from all walks of life who gathered to honor those who died on Aug. 21, 1863, and celebrate the community that rose from the ashes. Just as it did on the evening of Aug. 20, 1863, the community came together to visit with one another and listen to music performed by the Lawrence city band.
The new permanent exhibit at Watkins Museum of History will be a lasting gift to the community, a place local residents can visit and take their out-of-town guests. Community visitors, especially those with an interest in Civil War history, now have a perfect place to go to learn about the events in Lawrence and their significant role in American history, as well as how Lawrence’s ideological roots have continued to influence us as a community.
Wednesday’s Twitter reenactment of the raid was another characteristically Lawrence event. It was, as Lawrence often is, a cutting edge endeavor, the first time anyone was aware of Twitter being used to chronicle a historical event. People who participated in the project obviously learned a lot about the individuals who experienced the raid first hand and how they might have felt on that fateful day. Through their Tweets, they reached out to a vast audience who also may have gained a better understanding of this historic event. As one organizer noted, it was a great event for a “quirky” community that loves both social media and history.
Whether they were taking a walking tour, building a mud fort, listening to a lecture or looking at a special exhibit, Lawrence residents and guests to the community had many opportunities to honor the legacy of those who survived Quantrill’s Raid and their grit in rebuilding our community. We are proud of our history and grateful to all those who planned and participated in the activities that marked this significant anniversary.