Saturday, July 22, 2006


After picking up my sister Jeri and her husband Ron up at the airport, (no media at the BWI, unfortunately) we decided to drive to Gettysburg. Our visitors were not immensely excited about this plan being ambivalent about whether they really wanted to see the battlefield. Judy and I have been to the battlefield three times, however, and we enjoy each and every visit so we steamrolled them. We began by touring the National Cemetery. It was at the dedication ceremony for this cemetery that Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg address.

Here is the monument commemorating the Gettysburg Address. The text of the address is inscribed on the bronze plaques on either side. Abraham Lincoln's still resound so many years later:

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that this nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate-we cannot consecrate-we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here higly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from this earth.

There are many men and women buried within this National Cemetary, from many different wars. The headstones provide a stark commentary about the cost of war.

No sightseeing tour is complete without the obligatory posed pictures. Here is Jeri in front of a cannon (Ron could tell you what kind. I cannot. Is this a guy thing?) Ron is posed in front of the Soldier's Memorial, which is too tall for the shot.

The final picture is the memorial to Major General John Reynolds. He was the highest ranking Union officer killed in the battle. It was he who alert Meade to the confederate advance. He was killed early in the fighting while leading the Iron Brigade at McPherson Ridge.

Although Jeri and Ron weren't wildly excited to go to Gettysburg, they did enjoy themselves. Tomorrow more pictures from the battlefield. (Yes, I have a new digital camera!)