Remember anniversary of Quantrill’s raid, but also forgive
Today marks the 150th anniversary of Quantrill’s bloody raid on Lawrence. The Border War between Kansas and Missouri remains contentious to this day, in part because we continue to commemorate dates like this with a never-forgive, never-forget attitude.
It’s OK to recognize our past. Dec. 7, 1941, is a date that has lived on in infamy. We’ll never forget the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001. And many Kansans recognize Aug. 21, 1863, for its sheer brutality. But no one should harbor grudges or hard feelings toward Missouri or the former Confederate states any more than those in Missouri should have a burning hatred toward their neighbor to the west. That was seven generations ago, and most rational people should have moved on by now.
Yet, this rivalry continues to be fueled by the ignorant on both sides of the state line.
Folks in Lawrence will commemorate the 150th anniversary of perhaps its darkest day with a series of lectures and a concert. Most there will take part simply for its festival-like atmosphere. You’d like to believe that even those with ancestors who were killed in the raid have softened in their hatred for Quantrill and all things Missouri.
Then again, you never know. Consider that last year, the town of Osceola, Mo., population 950, asked the University of Kansas to drop the Jayhawk mascot because the name refers to a group of domestic terrorists who nearly destroyed the town. Officials there claim Quantrill’s raid was a retaliatory strike to the Jayhawk attack on Osceola.
Too much time has passed for this to continue to be an issue.
The sports rivalry between KU and the University of Missouri has always been heated - partially because of the Border War history. It grew more contentious last year when Mizzou left the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference.
Still, the games people play - while important to many - hold no life-or-death ramifications. Sports offer an escape from everyday life. No more or less. The bloody history between Kansas and Missouri should be just that - history.
It’s OK to commemorate the date, but those who are still fueled by something that happened years before they ever came to be simply need to move on with their lives.