Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gettysburg Battlefield


It is easy for me to forget that most people do not live within a hour's drive of the battlefield of what is arguably one of the most important moments in our nation's history.  I forget that most of you didn't take a class field trip there every year, that you have never climbed the boulders of Devil's Den to eat your lunch in the same place that snipers once hid, looked out over the Peach Orchard where General Sickles lost his leg, or hiked to the peak of Little Round Top, the hill famous for a bloody bayonet charge. 

You haven't seen the field where Pickett made his ill-fated charge, or the fence that over half of those soldiers died trying to reach.  You've never seen the canon rounds still embedded in the outer walls of the historic homes, or watched a re-enactment of brother killing brother.  In just three days the bodies of over 50,000 men marred the bucolic fields of Gettysburg. 

You would never know it just driving though, the waving fields of grass belie the bloody history of  this place. The cheerful swags of the American flag help us remember the great victory the North had here, but more importantly they remind us of the great sacrifice from both sides. 

It would be easier to walk through the National Cemetery if there were a 'bad guy' in this war.  This time, the 'bad guy' was us, and although we can clearly see which ideals we would adhere to, it's hard to deny the tragedy of a nation at war with itself.    

I can't give you a brief. light-hearted summary of Gettysburg Battlefield.  The feeling there is hard to explain, it's heavy, hallowed even.  I can only urge you to visit, if not here, then another battlefield.

Pay homage to the men who fought and died making this country what it is today, learn from the mistakes we made, feel the magnitude of the price we paid. 

4 comments:

  1. I've never visited a battlefield but you have inspired me :)

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  2. Great Post. I too am inspired to take a trip to the battlefield. Thank you for the important reminder.

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  3. Awesome. Bucolic...excellent word usage.

    I love you Scruffy

    Dad

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  4. A very moving experience you will never forget.

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