A Summer Vacation Idea That Offers Truth in the Silence
by ZZ Troutski
The Great Outdoors offers a great deal when it comes to vacation ideas. From boating and kayaking to hiking to fishing and camping – the list goes on and on. And the vast list of locations that can be visited can make the mind boggle. But there is one location that the U.S. offers to family and friends that goes well beyond a guided tour or walk in the woods. And the most amazing part about it is, no matter how many family members you bring with you, and no matter how much the parking lot is overrun with tourists and caravans, when you head into this location what meets your ears is complete and utter tranquility.
Silence. Only the animals and birds have their say, and even they graze or chirp quietly as if being respectful of the world around them. This is Gettysburg. This is a beautiful spot that stands for so much pain, yet has become a place of remembrances, as if time itself has stopped.
And the place is never-ending. Less than half of the 11,500+ acres on the old Gettysburg Battlefield have been preserved for posterity thus far. The work continues on this U.S. site, and millions of people head there every year to walk the grounds that so many men fought over – to the death – in order to celebrate a small victory in a very large war.
The monument on Pickett’s Charge for the 8th Ohio is a sight to see. Not to mention, the Park Service has been removing trees around Little Round Top so that people can truly see what it looked like long ago. It’s actually breathtaking to see the ‘rise’ and know that you are witnessing a spot in time where greatness and pain happened all at once. Now that the extra foliage has been removed, a visitor can see exactly where Warren stood on Little Round Top, and it’s not hard to imagine that Confederate approach as visitors stare out at the now viewable monuments to the Alabama and Texas units.
A history lesson comes in many forms for the family as they enter the Jennie Wade home. Here, visitors learn about a tragic shot, and how one casualty became a hero that would never die in the hearts of Americans.
July 1, 1863…the first day of that famous Battle of Gettysburg. More than 150 bullets slammed into the McClellan house that rested on those fields. The McClellan/Wade family took to treating soldiers in that small home, baking them bread and tending to their wounds. But on July 3rd, about 8:30 a.m., Jennie Wade was standing in the kitchen kneading dough for more bread, when a shot traveled through the door of her sister’s house and hit, killing her instantly.
This is one home that has been kept up all these years, with minor repairs and changes done to allow the tourist’s to enter and see the past come alive. The awe people feel comes from the walls of the old house. The riddled wood full of holes that tell the story of a battle that pitted friends against friends, family against family, with many loved ones dying along the way.
Lee, Grant – everything changed in that short period of only three days time. Everything – life as the world knew it – came to a stop, And Jennie Wade was the one young woman who would always be remembered for her courage in the face of absolute danger. Yet another reason that Gettysburg is the ultimate summer vacation, providing an experience one never forgets.
This small town took the brunt of a very large hatred, and The Gettysburg Address still stands as one of the most prominent and moving speeches that a President has ever made.
The museums are there, the numbers, the monuments and battlefields – even a new Visitor’s Center has been established that will enthrall and enrapture the viewer.
This remarkable place is still bathed in an almost reverent silence. There is still a veil over Gettysburg, and you can feel it in the air. But for the outdoor/vacation/traveler/enthusiast, heading to Gettysburg in 2013 and celebrating their 150 years, is a truly special and unforgettable way to pass the time.
Listen to the silence…it speaks volumes.
Source: Sportsmans Life / Baret News Wire