I stopped by JMD’s Behind the Eyes yesterday to read his post about free flow writing. He was writing about traveling and seeing places where his “feet (could) touch the same ground as some of histories most notorious figures.”
I SO get that. Ended up writing an bloomin’ essay in response (blush). Thing is, it seems like all those places are across the pond in Europe and the Asian continent. That’s the part of the world that’s seen the most earth-shaking events. Our country here seems too young to have those important kind of historical places.
But on a trip to Gettysburg in 2009, I decided I was mistaken, that we just have to look a little bit harder, pay a bit more attention…
The house, barn, and shed in the above picture are original to the battlefield (July 1-3, 1863). At right is a statue of a soldier overlooking the battlefield which spread as far as the eye could see.
This is the Soldier’s Monument, built to honor all the fallen soldiers. There are markers around the memorial that list how many people from each state died in the three-day battle.
The battlefield on a misty morning. There are monuments and statues honoring companies and individuals spread over the entire park. You could easily spend a couple of days exploring them all. We were first there in 2009 and again in 2013. The visitor’s center is amazing. I highly recommend a trip to this important place in our history.
But the thing I wanted to point out is that the whole time we were there walking around on the battlefield, the hair was standing up on the back of my neck. There was a heavy breeze that blew across the flat land. And though there were other people visiting as well, we all talked in a whisper for some reason. It seemed right that we did. I felt like we were standing on holy ground. And I had to grab a pen…
The land remembers
red, flowing blood of her sons;
mourns — battle-scarred, mute.
Wind, a grief unspent,
wails over fallow fields, cries
WE MUST NOT FORGET!
May 12, 2009