My family and I recently returned from a visit to Pennsylvania. While there we took the opportunity to revisit the Gettysburg National Military Park (having last been there in 1996). Anyone who has ever been there knows what a moving experience it is.
Touring the museum, viewing the restored Cyclorama, and of course driving and walking over the field (with camera in hand) that witnessed so much death, destruction, and heroism on those three July days in 1863 brings home the sacrifice and loss the soldiers and their families endured. The battle is considered the “high water mark” of the Confederacy. After this defeat, Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was largely on the defensive until the end of the war almost two years later. It was an accidental meeting on a field of neither commander’s choosing that became one of the most famous and important battles in history.
The battlefield today is revered by many, and the National Park Service and the Gettysburg Foundation do their utmost to preserve this hallowed ground. Time has brought change to some areas of the field, while others remain very much the same. Its preservation and improvement are ongoing goals. If you haven’t visited Gettysburg, please put it on your “bucket” list. If you have, you most likely will be drawn back again to absorb and appreciate the sites and atmosphere from this epic battle that very likely changed the course of history.