Academic journal article The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

From the President

Academic journal article The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

From the President

Article excerpt

Creating Community

I just returned from leading a VHS group down the Mississippi River to explore the fascinating history of the Civil War in the western theater. On a ship that can hold 150 passengers, our merry band of twenty-seven was by far the largest group traveling together. Every evening we would gather for cocktails and a talk by either Nelson Lankford or me on a historical topic related to the area in which we were cruising. Soon the boat was buzzing about "that group from Virginia." Over the course of the week we had numerous other passengers ask if they could sit in with us for one of our nightly sessions. In keeping with Virginia's tradition of hospitality, we were glad to have them.

I might like to flatter myself that these folks wanted to join us because of my spellbinding talk on the rise of King Cotton in the Mississippi Valley, but I harbor no such illusions. I think what appealed to the non-VHS passengers on our ship was the sense of community and connection that was so evident in our group. And that got me to thinking about the role that this institution plays in bringing people together. Much like the sense of connection that is shared by members of the same church or alumni of the same college or university, there is a bond among those of you who love and support the VHS. Of all the places you can spend your time and resources, many of you spend them with us-and we appreciate it more than I can say. …

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