Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Gettysburg Battlefield in Winter (part 1)

After visiting The Mannings yesterday (blog post here) I realized that I was only 14 miles from Gettysburg.  The trip to The Mannings hadn't taken as long as I had thought it would, I hadn't been to the battlefield in forever (at least 17 years), and I had never been there in the winter.  So, instead of heading north on PA Route 15 to come home, I went south.

I found the new Visitor Center easy enough.  It is a beautiful building.  But, I was only there long enough to take this picture of the sign at the entrance and grab a map.

I've been to the Gettysburg Battlefield once in the spring and a handful of times in the summer.  Never in fall or winter.  I am not a history buff, a war buff, or a lover of anything military related (although I DO love a man in uniform but that's different). I can't really explain (nor do I have any desire to do so as they are private) my beliefs or lack thereof when it comes to religion, spirituality, ghosts, or similar topics.  

I CAN tell you that the Battle of Gettysburg occurred over the 4th of July weekend.  So, being here in the summer is more appropriate if you want to get the 'feel' of what this place would have been like (the weather, the terrain, and so on).  I can also tell you that I personally experience a very 'heavy' or somber feeling every time I am there.  I have experienced such feelings of sadness every time I have visited.  The words needed to accurately describe this place, these feelings are not in my vocabulary.  Sadness doesn't do this place justice.  

There is a somber, aching beauty here.  The sense of history, of terrible sacrifice is almost palpable.  It's one of those places that causes me to pause and reflect.  For that reason, I am not going to comment on each of the photos.  I do not know who or what most of the monuments are dedicated to.  Personally, I don't care.  Whether a statue is specifically for a particular General or Regiment or act of bravery doesn't make any difference in the total that is Gettysburg.

The Gettysburg Battlefield in winter is all that with another layer of coldness on top.  

This is the central part of the main monument for the State of New York.

The Pennsylvania Monument.  The largest on the battlefield.

Because there are so many photographs that I wanted to share, I have split this post into two parts.  Part two will be up shortly.

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