South Carolina is among the nation’s patriotic hot spots.
To determine where Americans bleed the most red, white and blue, WalletHub.com compared the 50 states across 13 indicators of patriotism. The data set ranges from average number of military enlistees to the share of adults voting in the 2016 presidential election to AmeriCorps volunteers per capita.
South Carolina is the fourth most patriotic state as determined by the survey, which can be found at https://wallethub.com/edu/most-patriotic-states/13680/. By category, the state is:
• 2nd – Average number of military enlistees per 1,000 civilian adults population (no prior service).
• 9th – Active-duty military personnel per 1,000 civilian adult population.
• 28th – Percent of adults who voted in the 2016 presidential election.
• 8th – Veterans per 1,000 civilian adult population.
• 1st – Civics education requirement.
• 20th – Volunteer hours per resident.
The survey should come as no surprise. South Carolinians have a long history of patriotism and loyalty not diminished by its place in history as the first state to secede from the Union ahead of the Civil War. Many battles were fought then and have been fought in the decades since over that sad chapter in American history.
But just as preserving history associated with 1776 and the American Revolution is in focus as Independence Day approaches, future generations must know and understand what happened more than 150 years ago.
Nowhere is preservation more important than in Charleston with two landmarks: Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter. Both are in need of repair work to ensure their survival, but prospects are uncertain amid the National Park Services’ multibillion-dollar deficit that has put it behind in maintenance and upkeep.
Two South Carolina lawmakers are determined to do something.
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott and Congressman Mark Sanford, both Republicans, want to merge Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie into the same national park to secure more funding for the site. Scott and Sanford introduced the Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Park Act of 2017 on June 28.
The date is significant as Carolina Day, which marks the 241st anniversary of the Battle of Sullivan’s Island fought at Fort Moultrie and considered a key Patriot victory during the Revolutionary War.
Each year, Fort Sumter National Monument attracts nearly a million visitors to see where the first shots of the Civil War were fired on April 12, 1861. Fort Sumter has been recognized as a national monument since 1948. Since 1960, Fort Moultrie has been administered by the National Parks Service as part of Fort Sumter without a clear management mandate or established boundary.
The Scott-Sanford legislation establishes a management plan for the preservation and maintenance of the Sumter-Moultrie site, and also has the potential to enhance local economic opportunities and growth for the surrounding area by increased tourism and visitation.
Details of the bill include:
• Establishes Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Park.
• Codifies clear and defining boundaries of federally managed land at Fort Sumter.
• Provides the National Park Service with a clear management plan for park, maintenance and development,
• Recognizes the importance of Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie and the Sullivan’s Island Life Saving Station Historic District in American history and the role they played in protecting the Charleston Harbor during the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the development of the U.S. coastal defense system from 1776 to 1947.
• Commemorates the lives of the free and enslaved workers who built Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie, the soldiers who defended the forts, the prisoners held there, and the captive Africans brought to America as slaves.
• Bolsters the tourism potential of the community by increasing the visibility, prestige and notoriety of the sites by upgrading the federal designation to national park status.
In divisive and difficult times in Washington, the legislation should be welcomed by politicians of all persuasions. The nation must preserve its history and prioritize dollars to do so.
In the words of Sen. Scott: “Our state’s history extends well beyond our borders and runs deep through the very soul of the American story. It is so important that we preserve these special places so they can be enjoyed and appreciated for generations to come.”