Gettysburg, PA – 8/25/12

There are certain places I never forget.  I don’t know what it is, but I am always drawn to them to visit the area countless of times.  Let it be Salem, MA, Virginia Beach, VA, New Jersey, or my favorite, Gettysburg, PA.  Even before I visited these places, I always have some attachment.  Something in me always told me, you have to visit these places.  I don’t know if I will ever understand it, and quite frankly, I don’t want to know.  I just want to visit these places and feel content when I am there.

Gettysburg has always fascinated me.  Prior to last Saturday’s visit, I have only been there once, and thoroughly enjoy myself.  If only I learned in school by going to the actual places, I might have enjoyed History class a lot more.  Like my other favorite places, Gettysburg is a big little town.  Granted, I love big cities with the bustling people, the skyscrapers, and the pollution, but little towns like Gettysburg are where I want to be.  Maybe it is because I lived in Bethlehem all my life and it is the same way.  It is more of community where people are helping people and store fronts are mom and pop stores.  Maybe it is because these towns are small in size, but big in reputation.  The history of these places is extremely rich, they could fill a book, and they have.

Not knowing what to do on Saturday, I suggested to my friends, why not go to Gettysburg?  After filling our bellies with burritos from Cali Burrito in Allentown, PA, we jumped in the car and drove 2 hours to Gettysburg on a whim.  What better way to test out my new camera then at one of my favorite locations?

We arrived at around 3 in the afternoon and went straight to the battlefield.  This is where I feel like I stepped into a time machine.  Walking around Gettysburg is surreal.  You are walking around where at one point blood flowed like a river, men and boys screamed for their lives, clouds of gun smoke clouded your view, and the smell of death was your closest friend.  This may sound horrible, and it is, but we can never fully imagine what it was like during the Battle of Gettysburg.

With no destination in mind, my two friends and I walked all around Gettysburg from Little Round Top, Devil’s Den, to Pickett’s Charge.  Now I won’t go into the history, I will leave that to you, but I will say research Devil’s Den on the sharp shooter photo.  A photograph staged by a photographer, which to this day is still a famous and controversial photo.

I should mention that Gettysburg has hundreds of monuments.  How many?  I am not sure, but statues always interested me.  I always thought about how many people the statues see and if where they are is where they want to be?  If the person was able to visit their statue, would they be happy with the location and likeness of themselves?  Would they say, “I hated this spot, my legs were blown off here!”  These are questions I ask myself that I will never get the answers to.

As it started to get late, my friends and I started to head back into town.  Gettysburg has a lot of little shops filled with souvenirs and possibility a dozen or so businesses that give ghost tours year round.  My favorite, but unfortunately didn’t partake in these tours this time around.  We did head to a restaurant in the circle that had excellent food and staff called the Blue and Grey Bar and Grill.  The “Confederate” burgers were mighty good.  We ended the night at Garryowen Irish Pub.  My friends wanted drinks, and this place was one of the few around.  Again, the staff was super friendly, but when we asked, “for a Saturday night, there is no one around?”  The bartender explained that Gettysburg is a quiet town and it gets busy when the war is reenacted.  Either way our stay was enjoyable, and I am sure there will be plenty of more visits.

Walking the battlefield and knowing that millions of people have walked this area is something that I always think about.  Who was here?  What were they thinking?  What were their struggles?  Who did they love?  I am glad that this area will never be converted into fast food restaurants, skyscrapers, or a shopping malls and millions of other people will experience Gettysburg in the future.

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