The year is 2012 and as a sometime student of American History it is interesting to note the anniversaries that this year brings with the:
-200th anniversary of the War of 1812
-150th anniversary of the Civil War
-50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis
-40th anniversary of the Vietnam War
-10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan
The Atlantic magazine had a recent article on the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, which can be found here.
On the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the U.S. Civil War, the New York Times has a blog that chronicles the events of 150 years ago (which can be found here).
There was much that was happening in 1862. In the western theater, the Battles of Shiloh and Perryville occurred, as did the capture of New Orleans by Union forces.
In the East in 1862, the Battle of Antietam was fought in September. The Union victory was followed by Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. The year ended badly for the Union, however, with the defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg.
Lessons in the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis are chronicled in the recent July/August edition of Foreign Affairs magazine here. The author notes that "The U.S. air strike and invasion that were scheduled for the third week of the confrontation would likely have triggered a nuclear response against American ships and troops, and perhaps even Miami. The resulting war might have led to the deaths of 100 million Americans and over 100 million Russians."
Reflecting on these events (and near events) I'm amazed at the tremendous sacrifices that so many Americans have made to defend our freedom.
I'm also reminded of the prayers for peace in the Book of Common Prayer:
"Give peace, O Lord in all the world; for only in you can we live in safety."