Battlefield preservation measure advances to U.S. Senate
September 12, 2012By Phil Gregory
The House of Representatives has passed a bill to protect battlefields in New Jersey and several other states.
The battlefield protection program provides $10 million a year in matching federal funds to help private efforts protect battlefield sites.
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Hackett Fischer says more of those site are in danger from suburban sprawl.
"I think that's particularly a problem in New Jersey," Fischer said. "We may have bought a little time here with the slowdown in real estate, but it's about to pick up again and when it does more of them are going to be in danger."
The bill sponsored by Congressman Rush Holt, D-N.J., expands the protection program to include battlefields from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
About 17,000 acres at Civil War sites have been saved over the past 14 years.
Battlefields can bring history to life, says Noreen Bodman, executive director of the Crossroad of the American Revolution Association.
"To experience kind of the trials and tribulations, as well as the victories and the kind of choices that were made, I think go a lot towards good citizens, good leadership, but also to engaging students of all ages," she said.
The measure now goes to the Senate.