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Gone to Gettysburg

July 3, 1863, the close to America’s bloodiest battle, Gettysburg. A crisp sunny summer day. This day was not just any day. Pure hell is what could be described of this day. Sights of men mauled and mutilated beyond any recognition of a human being. The cries of soldiers both in blue in gray crying out in misery for help some just wanting to die and have their misery just end. During these three bloody days at the battle of Gettysburg 51,000 men fell dead or were wounded. Last spring vacation my family and I traveled to Gettysburg to pay homage to these men and what they did for the United States.

The opportunity appeared when this spring for the first time my dad got his first real long vacation from his job. Because of this we all pondered of where we could go. Gettysburg was suddenly one place put on the table of where we could go. Me being a big military history buff wanted to go there for years and there was not a single other place I wanted to go. Then the first Friday of spring break our voyage began. Bags packed and supplies in hand including snacks of all kinds on heavy demand. Our first stop of the excruciatingly long 12 hour journey was Pittsburg, the city of steel, and we probably stayed at one of the nicest hotels we have ever gone to. Breakfast buffet galore is what the morning could be described as, mouth-watering bacon, delectable muffins, and smells that would make you think it was a breakfast fit for kings. Anticipation was high of what the next day could hold at Gettysburg.

Another 2 hours passed of driving in hilly Pennsylvania until we finally reached it. As soon as we entered Gettysburg we were greeted with the barrels of rustic 150 year old cannons and we knew this was the place. Slowly we drove through to the city afraid to miss a single site with monuments every direction you looked in land so rural that they looked like they had been disturbed in a century. Finally we appeared in from of our Hotel. We checked in and then packed our enormous load of luggage in our room. The night was ours then and we decided to walk downtown. Many of buildings themselves even were from the Civil War time period. Some still bore the bloody signs of the battle with bullet holes in them.

The next day I was the first up. I couldn’t stand it anymore and I had to see the battlefield itself. I was quickly off wandering around to see where I was until I found Gettysburg’s cemetery, where many of the men who had died in the battle were. Stumbling around I saw graves of men which had to be at least in the hundred’s. Then I saw it, the spot where Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address and strengthened the nation just by a few words said in only a few minutes. My family eventually woke up later and were on our voyage to see the battlefield together. From the hilly terrain of McPherson’s ridge of the Union’s line on the first of July in 1863 to the grassy flats of Picket’s fatal charge on the third of July. We had tried to step in every foot of where something historical happened in this historic city. I was one of the most inspiring sights to imagine men fighting and even dying in these exact spots over a cause which they believed to be true. We even went to a newly renovated museum, which cost was in the millions to make. Another day had passed and we hit the main sites to the Gettysburg battlefield of what we had missed in this massive expanse of land with an area miles full.

Finally one day we had decided to visit two other sites in Pennsylvania. Our first stop was the flight 93 crash site. To say the least it was a very humbling site in the middle of nowhere with a small road leading to the site, but all to be seen around were just grass and trees. There was a monument dedicated to the heroes who showed true American courage there and were along with many others paid our homage to them. The we drove to stop number two, Carlisle Barracks, home of the U.S. War College. We once there stopped at the museum. Though the museum bare on the inside on the outside of a path of military history from WWII barracks, Huey helicopters, Sherman tanks, to Revolutionary War fortifications. All the fun I was having is something I didn’t want to end, but like all good things it did.

We eventually traveled back to our hotel and the next day we had to start our journey home. Regretful that this time had to end we ate breakfast and grudgingly packed up our things. We said our farewells to the battlefield and back to Waukesha we were. With regret that we had left this great time our car ride home we didn’t talk much, but when we did we talked of how interesting and fun Gettysburg was.



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