How it Started

When I was 12, I found a blank ledger book. It was a treasure beyond treasure to me. I debated and debated about what to do with it - it had to be something special. Finally I decided to make a list of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see in my life and then cross them off when I had accomplished them. At first they were simple things, but soon I was adding dramatic things, impossible things, but things still worth dreaming about. Oddly enough, putting them on the list somehow made them attainable. I have kept the book and updated the list my entire life. Here is the story behind some of the entries - successes and failures, embarrassing and proud moments, laughter and tears - the ridiculous to the sublime!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Visit Gettysburg Battlefield - DID IT

  Seeing the national monument at Gettysburg has been on my list since we studied the Civil War in junior high history class.  So when I was attending a week-long seminar nearby, I joined some of my classmates in a visit after class one evening.  What I didn't realize was that Jim, one of guys in our little group, was a Civil War reenactment buff and was an expert on the logistics of the famous battle.  As we toured the grounds, he gave us a nearly hour-by-hour recounting of the battle.  Whose army was positioned where by name and number of troops, the brilliant strategies and disastrous blunders, how they moved across the hills and valleys, where things happened and who died where.

Monuments dot the landscape, each a beautiful piece of art.  Monuments to black regiments, Native American regiments; and the entire place a monument to the strength of the beliefs of those who fought.  In the end, there was a declared winner, but everyone was a loser in a war that saw the death of over 600,000 Americans.  The Battle of Gettysburg was the costliest battle with over 51,000 deaths in only three days.

I've always liked history, but I've never felt so totally immersed in it as I did that day.  The quiet fields, bright green in mid-spring, seemed to echo with the sounds of canons, horses and muskets, so vivid was Jim's description. I swear I could smell the black powder burning. It is an amazing place and if you get the chance to visit, take it.  And try to take Jim with you!

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