What a brilliant whirlwind adventure we're on. It's been a few days since last I posted, as we've been swept up in wedding prep and the main event itself.
Prior to kicking into wedding high gear, we all piled in the rental vehicle and headed for Gettysburg.
We took the scenic route (natch) and came upon the best. billboard. ever.
I've never given a great deal of thought to the American Civil War. In my mind I figured that the battleground would be about the size of a Walmart parking lot. [INSERT SOUND OF BUZZER HERE]. I could not have been any more wrong. The battlefield covers miles and miles of land. Many of said miles belong to the national historic park.
We signed up for a bus tour of the battlefield, a two hour history lesson conducted by a fabulous and well-informed guide named Jim.
While we were waiting for our bus tour to begin, we spent some time in the museum which was a truly amazing place. The exhibit was peppered with interactive displays, screening rooms in which chapters of history were unlocked in living colour, and cases filled with historical objects and provisions.
I wasn't prepared for the profound emotional reaction that I had as we surveyed the documents, objects, photographs and texts from the war. As I looked at the photographs of the African American slaves and understood the root of the tension between the north and the south, I was overwhelmed with the realization of what had transpired a mere century and a half ago. It was as if history stood up and started breathing around me.
I stood on the battlefield and became acutely aware that I was standing in a place where the course of American history had been set. Below my feet were the grounds upon which tens of thousands of men died defending the abolition of slavery.
It was a profound experience.