Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Vacation Report #4

It is amazing to me to look out on all of the natural beauty of the battlefields of a place like Gettysburg and know (feel it in my bones, really) how many young men died there 150 years ago. It's creepy and horrible and awesome, really, in a vicious way. One the one hand you have these beautiful rolling hills, the trees, the monuments (many of which are really very great art), and on the other hand you have the war, the three days when thousands of young men went at one another with guns and bayonets to fight and die for their beliefs.

And there is another thing - it's good that we abolished slavery - it was a righteous cause. It was good, even, to fight to preserve the union, I guess. But is it really right to fight to the death like that? Is it entirely necessary? What about those young men of the 20th Maine who were told to hold the end of the line "at all hazards"? What about their mothers and sweethearts, sitting at home knowing that their boys were being sacrificed like they were merely instruments? What justification can we give to those grieving families?

Thousands of men died. So many men died they had to bury them in mass graves. The Southern casualties laid where they fell until the 1870s, nearly 10 years later, when the South came and claimed their remains. It was awful.

And now, every year, hundreds of thousands of people visit these fields of death. Are we glorifying the destruction or honoring the brave men or celebrating the abolition of slavery? I assume that many of us have a mixture of all of this in our hearts and minds as we go through . . . at least I hope I'm not the only one who thinks of these things.


Anyway, I lighten things up for myself by knitting, and by posing with the statues. This is the only one that really made it to the camera, though, because Simon was embarrassed by me. LOL

My next post will probably be my final vacation report. Just a few more pics to share with y'all. Vacationing with a photographer (hubby) yields a lot of publishable pics.

1 comment:

etoile_violet said...

No, you're not the only one who thinks of such things. Sadly, humans have to get over that primitive playground claptrap that the one with the most firepower, rather than the better argument, wins.