I awoke this morning to news reports of severe thunderstorm warnings in our area. This was not a good sign. Tornadoes seemed to be happening everywhere, including Pennsylvania where one person had already been reported killed.
By the time we were ready to make a “go” or “no go” decision as to whether or not to set out for our first drive through Gettysburg National Park, the weather seemed give us a bit of a reprieve. And so, the decision was for a “go.”
I do not quite understand what it is that makes me want to experience this journey through Gettysburg National Park over and over again. What I can tell you is that this desire is a powerful one.
As we enter the park grounds we are met with the lush greenery which for some reason, I always sense as remarkable. Also, there are hundreds and hundreds of monuments in all sorts of imaginable shapes, size and colours. None of them are small however, and rightly so. Each one is dedicated to those who served and fought here.
By the time we stopped the car to get out and breath in the land, there were the odd raindrops to welcome us and we did not mind them a bit. Among these stops we made on this particular journey were the Tennessee Memorial and the Lee Monument.
It is indeed a very big stretch to the imagination when you try to imagine the utter carnage that took place here 147 years ago. There’s a part of me that doesn’t even want to. However, we are here to acknowledge what happened here.
Abraham Lincoln said it all to well…
“The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.”
Nothing can change what happened here. It is what it is. What overcomes my senses here is an overwhelming sense of peace.
May it always be so.
As far as I know, one of the latest monuments to be added was the Longstreet Memorial. I believe this stature was made possible partly because of the efforts of actor Tom Berenger who played General Longstreet in the epic movie “Gettysburg.”
What came as a pleasant and unexpected surprise however was to see an encampment a hundred or feet behind this monument. There were tents, campfires and men in period clothing. As much as I would have enjoyed taking a closer look at this backwards glance into history the better angels of my nature told me that while I am enjoying this particular moment, I must respect their privacy and allow them to enjoy theirs as well.
The next stop was at Little Round Top and as we stood atop and gazed upon the ground which had been a pivotal point for the Union Army. The crest of this hill is comprised almost entirely of out of boulders. Very big ones.
By this point the grey clouds have appropriately given way to blue skies. There is a refreshing and welcoming wind here which helps keep the heat and humidity at bay.
From here we can see the Devil’s Den, another place of fierce battle. We immediately notice a change. All the trees which once adorned it are now gone. This comes as sad news to us. From our vantage point we can also see hoards of people surrounding this sight. We quickly resolve to leave the Devil’s Den to another day.
There was one obligatory stop left to make, and this was at the High Water Mark which was in short the end of the line for the Confederate Army. Today, I will only take a few moments at the stone wall, to overlook the ground which comprised Pickett’s Charge, by far the most serious and final battle which gave the Union Army a decisive victory over the Confederates.
Before I take my leave from these grounds, I pause at the sight where General Armistead fell.
I always do.
My agenda for tomorrow is to take a walk downtown. This is always such a joy for several different reasons. First, the architecture of the colourful houses and shops that line the streets are such a pleasure to behold. Second, there is a yarn store downtown, and if I listen carefully, I can hear several skeins of exquisite wool calling me by name.
And so ends day two.