Rowan County must choose between a race track and preserving the site of the last Confederate victory in North Carolina, where, on April 12, 1865, over 1,000 men in blue and a like number in gray waged a five-and-one-half hour artillery battle.
We preserve the memories and places of this war, or any war, not because of its horror but because of the courage, valor and sacrifice of its soldiers.
The War Between the States was not the first war, nor the last, in which American sentiments were divided, in which wounds remained unhealed long after the last shot was fired. It was, however, the most cataclysmic in our nation's history. North Carolina lost more men than any other Southern state.
Without realizing its history, some of the battlefield land has been despoiled over the past 90 years. We can be forgiven for what we didn't know. We cannot be forgiven for knowingly multiplying that destruction 10-fold.
Blood was shed on this soil. The highest use of this land was determined 140 years ago. From that time to this, it has had a destiny. It is hallowed ground.
With the old Yadkin Finishing plant being torn down, we have a window of opportunity to reclaim this historic ground, one we have not had for 90 years. This is the public gateway to the Trading Ford area, and an important component of its 10,000 years of history. On the same land are fords and ferries, and the entrance to North Carolina's first covered bridge, built in 1818. Its stone piers still remain, and it can be rebuilt. Historic preservation can enrich us, can educate us, can bring visitors to our area, can restore a portion of our riverbank to a more natural state. We will never have this chance again.
-- Ann Brownlee