People and events do help shape a country's history. But nothing is more tragic, more vicious, more painful than one that involves war. The loss of lives, the loss of property, there's just no sense to it all. Yet it makes for a compelling story for everyone, to learn from it, hoping to avoid war in the future.
|Gettysburg today: the red building at the left is Wills House where |
Abraham Lincoln wrote the final version of his famous speech.
|Wooden fences rebuilt just as it was during the war|
Of all the battles fought at the time, it was the one in Gettysburg that had the most impact, the most casualties and considered the war's turning point. For 3 days, in the searing heat of July 1863, soldiers from both sides, led by General Lee (Confederate) and Major General Meade (Union), fought fiercely, in open fields and in the woods, bitterly trying to weaken each others defenses.
|Statue of Gen. Robert Lee atop the Virginia memorial facing a battlefield|
|Gen. Robert Lee's headquarters|
About 50,000 men from both sides died after only 3 days of bitter fight. Gettysburg had the stench of death that would linger for days. And an enduring Lincoln speech that would reverberate across the nation and around the world.
On our way to a wedding at another town in Pennsylvania, my friends and I passed by Gettysburg one hot July weekend. To make the most of our time, we headed straight for The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center and signed up for a battlefield bus tour.
|Monument of Gen. Warren overlooking a battlefield|
As the 150th anniversary of the civil war approaches in July next year, Gettysburg is gearing up for the big day of remembrance, to honor those who died whose blood literally soaked these fields and perhaps more importantly, looking forward beyond this as a place of conflict.