I don't want to be too hard on "Bud" Robertson because I am relying on a third party - a reporter - to translate what he said into one and two syllable words for a mass audience. If, however, you read the linked story carefully you'll get a full measure of the kind of damage public history can do to the public and history.
This is the subject for a symposium, not a truism to be handed out to newspaper readers:
...the Shenandoah Valley proved to be crucial in the outcome of the war...It gets worse:
Winchester alone changed hands between the Union and Confederacy more than 70 times, making it focal point of the war, he said.We should rename it "The Winchester War" I suppose. Look at the phrasing in this whopper:
“The Shenandoah Valley was important because of location. It was the western flank of all military operations.”All military operations. And does he know what a flank is?
Is it Robertson's own interest - as a specialist - in the Valley that skews his thinking this badly? Or is there more to it, something out of the public historian's public usefulness (emphasis added):
Robertson said the celebration of the war should be a time for enjoying history, building on visits by citizens to boost the economy of various towns and counties throughout Virginia.Eventually every town in Virginia will be declared "crucial to the outcome of the war/tourist industry." Meanwhile, enjoy your celebration of war.