By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
CORINTH – Civil War enthusiasts like Tim Prince and Dale Fortenberry know children are the future.
Both men were happy to see many young faces at the second annual Civil War Relic & Militaria Show and Sale on Saturday at the Crossroads Arena Convention Center in Corinth.
Both dealers and people showcasing Civil War treasures attended the event, but the guests of honor were the little people in the room who didn’t know much about the history of the war.
Prince is the owner of College Hill Arsenal in Nashville and collects and sells everything from Civil War weaponry to war manuscripts. Even though his business is history, it’s the future of his business that worries Prince.
“So many kids couldn’t care less about Civil War history or artifacts and for people who deal in these types of antiques, that’s just not good news,” said Prince. “We could be totally out of business in 20 years so it’s important to get a younger age group interested in history. That way we can be assured it will live on.”
Prince said seeing so many young faces at the show was a good sign. But for many of the young participants like Joshua Moore, the day started out more as a punishment than a cool history lesson.
“Honestly, I didn’t want to come at all,” said the 12-year-old from Baldwyn who came with his grandfather, William Moore. “My granddad said I had to so I thought I was being punished. Just never really cared about any of that stuff. But even I have to admit that I had a good time and learned a lot.”
Marion Amons, 14, of Corinth said the relic show was better than any history class she’d ever taken.
“I didn’t dislike history, but just never really felt it was important – just boring,” she said. “But listening to all these people tell about this stuff and where it came from and how it was used has been very interesting. I’ve never seen most of this stuff in my school books.”
But not everyone who came shared the new insight on history as Joshua and Marion. Jesse Martin, 16, and his brother Calvin, 12, didn’t have an interest in history or the Civil War before Saturday and both said they cared even less afterward.
“History is boring,” said the elder Martin, who made the trip with his dad and brother from Selmer, Tenn. “Some of these old guns are pretty cool but I’d rather look at modern weapons. It’s not like a war is going to be fought using a cannon again.”
When asked what he thought about the event, Calvin simply answered, “It’s not really my thing.”
Fortenberry said historians have to find a way to make Civil War events their “thing” for kids.
“When I speak to kids about history and the Civil War I always tell them that you don’t go to school and read a book about the future, but about the past,” said Fortenberry, who is mayor of Farmington where a Civil War re-enactment will be held in September. “We try to get them interested in the Civil War because it is a big part of our state, especially in our area.”
The event was put together to raise money to have a monument put up at Shiloh. Buddy Ellis, event organizer, said thanks to Corinth’s rich Civil War history, it was the perfect place for it.
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.