…and so we awoke Sunday morning well-rested, listening to piano hymns, the grumbling and worrying of yesterday left there.
The first thing we did was find a suitable place for the Chieftain.
And then off to the Visitor Center, where our National Parks Pass meant nothing. $$$ But I’m not bitter. $$$
Seriously, the Park Ranger’s advice for our one-day budget was like gold: Walk the museum, buy the Auto Tour, and then head out to explore history hands-on!
I cannot overstate with what quality the museum is done. It seems as though every aspect of the 3-day battle is explored and represented.
It was a smorgasbord, with seemingly nothing unexplored and no one left out. There were numerous artifacts at every vignette. Costumes, quotes from those who were present, meaningful video explanations, hands-on learning. With numerous rooms exploring as many subjects: the election, the precursers to the war, the initial succession and firing on Fort Sumter, the early war, each day at Gettysburg, the townspeople, the aftermath, the remainder of the war, the reconstruction, slavery and The Emancipation Proclamation, the end of Lincoln’s life, and more…each equally investigated…it was far too much for one family to consume in a single morning!
I quickly ascertained that, try as I might to overstuff myself on the offerings, with four kids there was no way I could peruse it all. My strategy was to look at the quotes. In doing so, I gathered much of the facts along with the emotions of the time. I think that these four quotes encapsulate what my heart synthesized as its own and smuggled out the door…
And so we are, Mr. Chamberlain.
We departed in our TOAD on the auto tour at around noon and returned to the Chieftain, waiting for us at the cemetery, around 8pm. There is no way I can retell it all in words without either repeating what you already know or blundering what you don’t. So, I will show more than tell, interjecting as we go along.
Eternal Light Peace Memorial. They could not have selected a more serene setting for it. It literally made me sick to my stomach to imagine that this setting could be so bloody.
This sculpture was of particular interest to us because its sculptor was Borglum, who also did Mount Rushmore. The pointing man at the bottom actually reminds me of the Crazy Horse Memorial, which was sculpted by Korczak Ziolkowski.
That is D. D. Eisenhower’s home during his presidency and afterward. We visited his boyhood home in Kansas last summer but did not have time to visit this one.
In the distance are Little Round Top (charred from a recent contolled burn) and Big Round Top.
On Little Round Top. (We spent the most time here, both for the history and natural beauty. I will try not to be obnoxious with the pictures, though.)
For those of you in Mrs. Havekost’s Art in American History class last semester, the statue in the following picture is of a Zouave warrior (wearing a fez, of course!)
Devil’s Den is in the background.
I couldn’t help wondering to myself: Did a soldier shoot from shelter behind this rock? Whose blood soaked into this very piece of ground where I am standing? The truth is undoubtedly more weighty than I dare imagine.
Looking up at Little Round Top. Can you imagine attempting to take this rocky and well-guarded prize?
Here’s where we get tired and in need of “facilities”…so, no more pictures!
Post-“facilities” at the Cemetery
By the way, the picture book Cemetery Keepers of Gettysburg by Linda Oatman-High is a keeper!
After a quick supper of leftover pizza for some and sausage & cabbage for others, we took off toward the Frederick, MD Walmart!
By the way, did you know that I use a book called “Walmart Locator” to help me determine where we’re staying next? Within its pages are maps, whose only dots are cities with Walmarts! For each state there are also charts for different stats on each store (miles from the interstate exit, does it have gas, pharmacy, is it open 24 hours, etc.) There is also an up-to-date online accompaniment listing those rare locations where overnight parking is prohibited.