Gettysburg. At the very top of my list of things to do in Pennsylvania was to stand where Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address and read it aloud. The solemness of the grounds is loud and overwhelming and peaceful, except for the screaming and crying of my three year old who only wanted to see the first cannon in the park not the other 50. . .
My five year old on the other hand is at the perfect age for first exposure to such a huge topic. He understood the mass, not to its fullest, but to some degree. There were moments when I could see him calculating what exactly happened in his head and still not understanding the hatred behind it. I hope he never does. We studied the civil war in depth back in June, he knew who was fighting and why, but this, this was big.
If you haven’t been to Gettysburg, or are planning a future trip, there is so much to see. I cannot wait to go back and explore more of the town. The National Park portion is vast, you need a car or tour bus. The battle fields are spread out over 25 miles of road surrounding the center of town. IT IS ALL FREE!!!!! Nothing better than putting history in the hands of the people for FREE! GO!
Everything is hands on, child friendly, open spaces, historic (all the restaurants, shops and hotels are original to the 1790s). But. . .My favorite part was the covered bridge.
I’ve seen Sach’s Bridge on post cards of Pennsylvania my whole life and boy did we go on a wild goose chase looking for this guy. It was so worth it. It has also been published in five books as being one of the most haunted structures in Pennsylvania. Considering the 10’s of thousands of people that were killed at Gettysburg, that’s really saying something. It was beautiful and full of locals fishing, which was a nice change from the tour buses of the battlefields.
We climbed to the top of the observation tower and there you can see exactly how the battles of Gettysburg unfolded on July 1, 2 and 3 of 1863. I was able to point to different sections of fields and peach orchards and show Lux exactly where the armies approached and flanked and clashed. That was a surreal moment for me. A moment that fueled me to continue this journey with my children. On the days that homeschooling seems impossible I can reflect on this memory of what middle school, high school could look like with an engaged child learning in the place it happened.
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate
we can not consecrate
we can not hallow this ground.
The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg Address