Fort Wagner’s 150th – a “distributed” commemoration

I’ve been to numerous sesquicentennial events since those things started in 2010. A good number of them, from Harpers Ferry to most recently Gettysburg, have been National Park Service programs. Yesterday, knowing I could not attend events at Forts Moultrie and Sumter related to the 150th observances of the assault on Battery Wagner, my plan was to watch the social media feeds. The service’s social media team does a fantastic job. So I figured to catch up on the activities through Twitter and Facebook. When I checked in around lunch time, I noticed something different about these feeds when compared to past events.

The commemoration did not happen at just one park. And I’m not talking about adjacent parks, but rather places hundreds of miles apart – Boston African American National Historic Site, Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, National Mall & Memorial Parks, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, and Clara Barton National Historic Site. This was a distributed commemoration (in more ways than one), thanks to the power of these social media connections.

Yesterday evening, as I caught up on the posts and interactions what struck me was the feeling of involvement across this all. I was not there, physically. But part of the experience nonetheless. Many thanks to the NPS social media team members who provide the content to those feeds.

If we thought for a moment the sesquicentennial was just going to fade off after a “high water mark” at Gettysburg, July 18, 2013 proved otherwise.