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4/10/15

USA: America commemorates end of Civil War 150 years on, as healing continues

It’s an unremarkable spot in the lush Virginia countryside, but the meadows, woods and rolling hills surrounding the handful of homes in Appomattox, 150 kilometers west of the state capital Richmond, have come to symbolize perhaps the most consequential place in US history.

It was here where on April 9, 1865 Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant, supreme commander of all Union forces, thus effectively ending the American Civil War.

150 years later, America celebrates the events on that afternoon and the following days with a series of commemorations that highlight the importance of what ultimately became the second birth of a nation.

On Thursday April 9, thousands of people gathered at the historic site around Appomattox Courthouse to watch re-enactments of the surrender, listen to the stories of living historians and descendants of soldiers, civilians and slaves and hear the ringing of bells that marked the end of the fighting and the freeing of African Americans.

Roughly 620,000 million American soldiers have died in the Civil War from 1861 to 1865, more than in all US wars combined prior to Vietnam.

Appomattox set in motion a string of events that would eventually lead to the re-integration of the secessionist Southern states in the final decades of the 19th century, known in US history as “Reconstruction”, the liberation of the slaves and the establishment of full civil rights for black citizens a century later.

It is still very much work in progress.

Read more: America commemorates end of Civil War 150 years on, as healing continues | euronews, world news

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