by Lisa Tome
It's hard to make a war that occurred 155 years ago seem relevant to a 14-year-old.
Perryville Middle School teacher Jamie Sundland worked to bring war time to life recently at the school's fourth annual Civil War Day.
"Bringing Social Studies to life is a big challenge. This is more hands on to bring it to life," said Sundland. The day also occurs just as eighth graders begin studying the Civil War in an effort to pique their interest.
Reenactors from Company A 37th Regiment, North Carolina Volunteer Troops C.S.A., turned out at the school. The day began with the firing of cannons in a field adjacent to the school. Students got to speak to reenactors, see their uniforms and weapons, and ask questions.
Inside the school, there were more living history lessons. There were classes on war time medications, causes of war, calvary, battle statistics, and more. There was also a blacksmithing class.
"I have a neat way to explaining Antietam," said Major General John Houck. "At Camden Yards, there are 46,000 seats. Fill the stadium. Take half away. That's what we lost at Antietam."
The major general said the students react well to the hands on lessons.
"It's always very positive. They like touching the artifacts and hearing the cannon. We are getting them as close as possible to the war without the dead bodies," said Houck.