Donation Box of Reconciliation

Appomattox County prides itself on being a symbol of the end of the Civil War.  When you cross the county line, you are greeted by a large maroon sign with Lee & Grant facing one another.  Underneath them are the words: Where Our Nation Reunited–a moving sentiment.

This same idea is reinforced when you visit the battlefield, where the park rangers emphasize the “reconciliation” that Lincoln wanted for the nation & the “reconstruction” was came into being after he was assassinated.  This presentation of honor & mutual desire for peace went a long way towards influencing how I experienced the battlefield.

Which is why the donation box in the visitor’s center puzzled me.

Right inside the door of the visitor’s center was a large plastic box inviting donations from the visitors.  But, for all the talk of reunion & respect, this box was purposefully divided up into 50 compartments, one for each state.  The year the state became a part of America was listed under the name.  I just stared, trying to make sense of the incongruity, when two guys came up behind me.

“How’s California doing?” one said to the other, “Alright!  Got a couple of dollars.  What about Kansas?”

The other leaned past me, searching, “Damn.  Empty.”  California guy laughed & they both walked off without putting anything in.

I pulled two dollars out of my purse & you can be sure I put one in Virginia (for me) & one in New Jersey (for my husband).  I walked away feeling vindicated.  Why is that?