Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What the Civil War Can Do For You

The culture critic Robert Hughes once said,"Culture creates experience." In my case, the Civil War created an experience.
Back in 2000, I made a court appearance in Staten Island (I am an attorney by day.) For those of you who are not familiar, the East River separates Staten Island from the rest of New York City. To cross the river, you have to drive over the Verrazano Bridge or take the Staten Island Ferry.

I took the boat. On my way back, I sat on the sea deck and read Shelby Foote's The Civil War Volume 2 (one of the benefits of legal practice is the abundance of reading time.)

The boat passed an island with a large red brick building. A group of tourists who later told me they were from Louisiana approached me. They asked me the name of the monument in front of us.

I told them it was Ellis Island.

After several moments I asked them,"How did you know to ask me?"

They said,"You're reading about the Civil War. We figured you would know."

You see what the Civil War can do. You too can serve as an amateur guide for bewildered tourists.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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