11 June 2014

The Actual Gettysburg

Last year, Jeff, Phor and I saw the reenactments of some of the Gettysburg battles.  But this did not take place on the actual battlefield. 

We drove up a few weeks ago to visit the actual sites.  Neither of us had been there before and I really didn't know what to expect.  The Visitors Center is a gorgeous building and the men at the guest services desk walked us through our touring options from hiring a guide to ride in the car with us to taking a bus tour or buying a cd that talks us through the sites.  We took our chances and followed the map on the brochure.  I really appreciated this as it gave us time to go where we wanted and stop when we chose.  I was also able to show some emotion and not have to explain it.

I'm grateful that we toured the actual site after seeing the reenactment.  I can't even come close to imagining what happened on this ground.  I was overwhelmed with the fact that so many men died for what they believed was right.  It was an incredible sacrifice and all of the monuments and statues lining the drive emphasized that fact.  It was also an experience that shaped our country.  This is who we are.

This is the North Carolina monument which really touched me.  I think it was the fact that 1 out of every 5 men killed in this battle were from North Carolina (I don't remember if that was overall or just on the Confederacy).  There were so many families that suffered so much loss in a 3 day period.  If I remember correctly, close to 50,000 men were killed at Gettysburg with over 50,000 casualties. 

The Virginia Memorial with General Robert E. Lee at the top.

The Pennsylvania Monument which was obviously the biggest and the most impressive.

 The Gettysburg Cemetery where there are far too many unknown soldiers buried and where President Lincoln gave The Gettysburg Address.

The Eisenhower Farm is right by the memorial and we bought a ticket for the shuttle at the Visitors Center.  I'm not an enormous fan of Eisenhower as I just finished Truman's biography and I thought he didn't treat Truman very well.  Regardless, it's still interesting to see how Eisenhower spent his final days.

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