With Civil War battlefield acres being lost to development everyday preservationists search for ways to explain why their efforts are important. I think that there is no better reason than that summed up in the following quote by a former soldier of that conflict:
"In great deeds something abides. On great fields something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear; but spirits linger, to consecrate the ground for the vision-place of souls. And reverent men and women from afar, and generations that know us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come to this deathless field to ponder and dream; ....and the power of the vision pass into their souls..."
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, October 3, 1886
It is very simple really. People visit battlefield because they are still here. If they disappear or are developed or paved over, there will not be reasons for people to come honor the dead and learn of their brave deeds.
I encourage everyone in 2010 to make a resolution to visit a battlefield or give a small gift for their preservation.