Rotary Happenings: Season on the island brings strong contingent of visiting Rotarians
March 15, 2017


Season on the island is definitely peaking and with the season's arrival comes a strong contingent of visiting Rotarians. Even though the Dunes dining room has been expanded recently, we're squeezing in this time of the year. Rotarians are encouraged that when traveling to visit local Rotary Clubs near their destination of travel. This helps to broaden their understanding of what other Rotary clubs are doing and what projects that they are involved with; this insight may sometimes encourage visiting Rotarians to bring information back to their home Rotary clubs on how to raise funds, or the types of projects that their home clubs may find interesting to pursue. Many Rotary friendships and partnership projects are developed in this fashion.

Partnerships, cooperation, understanding, and friendships also happen in the religious realm. An example of that, right here on Sanibel, the Rev. John Danner of the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ and retired Rabbi James Rudin of Bat Yam Temple of the Islands congregations not only share the same physical space of the church for worship, but also shared several impressive interfaith programs. These two men have formed a friendship beyond their religious faiths and invested time in getting to know each other as the individuals that they are.

So here goes my bait and switch Rotarian John Danner invited James Rudin to speak at Rotary this week, but not about his faith or his extensive body of work on interreligious affairs, but on his historical study of the Civil War.

First Rabbi Rudin made this disclosure, he was putting his cards on the table. He spent many of his formative years in the Commonwealth of Virginia and during the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grades, he really didn't study U.S. American history; he studied the history of the Confederacy. These history lessons have a long and deep effect on the people of the south. So, when Rudin himself was serving our country in Korea, where tensions were high, for stress relief he and his fellow soldiers discussed the Civil War.

Wikipedia" During the American Civil War (18611865), the Union referred to the United States of America and specifically to the national government of president Abraham Lincoln and the 23 free states and five border states that supported it. The Union was opposed by 11 southern slave states that formed the Confederate States, or "the Confederacy."

Rudin's questions: What was it that President Abraham Lincoln used to rally the men of the Federal Union to go to war against the Confederacy? Why did General Robert E. Lee turn down the unions offer to lead the Union Troops from the North and become the leader of the army Commonwealth of Northern Virginia?

As to the first question, many would say the answer was to end human slavery, but was that really it? That may have been true for the men who volunteered to fight to end slavery, but more was involved for our government including the economic growth of our country.

Fighting for their rights of self-determination regarding slavery and opposing the proposed tariffs on imported goods coming into the southern states to finance the growth of northern states and their industrial growth. Our southern states were determined to preserve their states' rights over federal laws causing 11 southern states to secede from the union. They were willing to go to war over states' rights and led that charge by bombarding union soldier at the first battle of the Civil War at Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 12-14, 1861.

As to the second question, General Lee had been asked to lead the Union Army, but his southern roots took hold and he joined the Confederacy. Southerners continue that rooted determination of states' rights even today. Lee was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. An outstanding military leader, he fought valiantly, but his troops were outnumbered.

Facts at the time of the Civil War:

Population in 1861: North 22 million people vs. South 9 million people.

Soldiers: North approx. 2 million vs. South approx. 1 million.

Somewhere around 750 thousand soldiers killed during the Civil War.

During the four years of the Civil War there were 237 named battles beginning at Fort Sumer in 1861.

Union military leader Ulysses S. Grant vs Confederate army military leader Robert E. Lee.

The war ended in 1865 with the surrendering of Lee and the confederate Army.

Rabbi Rudin spoke regarding a plethora of information on the Civil War, but unfortunately, I only could write a fraction of that information in this week's column.

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meets at 7 a.m., Friday mornings at the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club. Guests are always welcomed.


Regular Size Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander