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Grants awarded to explore historic battlefield sites

WBFO file photo

While some major wars ended more than 200 years ago, history buffs say they should never be forgotten. The National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program recently awarded two federal grants to two entities to learn more about sites in Western New York.

The Seneca Nation of Indians received $46,000 to pinpoint the precise location and learn more about a village that was destroyed during the Revolutionary War. The SUNY Buffalo Research Foundation received $23,000 to study a War of 1812 bridge near the former Squaw Island that was used to deliver supplies to American troops.

These battlefield sites and three others in New York State won a total of $250,000 in grant money from the national program.

Grant Manager Kristen McMasters said people can gain new insights into what’s happening today through these historic sites.

“By looking back, I hope that we can sort of learn more about how we operate in that fog of war,” McMasters said. “By forgetting these pieces, we forget a little bit about ourselves. We forget a little bit about how we wage conflict and we forget the cost of conflict.”

Many sites that receive grant money launch tours, erect signsa or distribute informational brochures so people can discover a unique aspect their region’s history, McMasters said.

“Some communities really grab onto the concept of having a historic resource in their backyard and create all kinds of wonderful educational and recreational opportunities. And after all, a battlefield in your own backyard cannot be exported.”

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