It seems that no matter how many times we visit national parks we learn something new. And Gettysburg National Military Park is a good example. Our second visit here, and four ranger-led walks and talks later, we develop a new appreciation and understanding for what went on in this battlefield to end all battlefields.
- First up, we learn that the battle for Little Round Top was critical to the Union victory. (Maybe not so, we find out another day, from another ranger.)
- Then we learned about the field hospitals, and the awful – the worst imaginable – conditions under which men were butchered in attempts to save their lives. (Germ protocol was an idea that came much later. “Surgeons” cut off limbs, then wiped their tools on their sleeves, and move on to the next poor soldier.)
- Then at a campfire gathering, we learn what the townspeople went through, as their farms were littered with tens of thousands of bodies of men and horses…the stench so bad…well, you need to go to hear about it.
- And it is something to look a mile and a half away and realize that cannons could hurl their destruction that far, and with a good degree of accuracy. Cannon balls and lethal doses of oversized shotgun shells that vaporized men and horses alike.
We came away knowing that peace is better than war. That the rolling countryside has taken years to restore to look somewhat like what was there in 1863. And, that today, Gettysburg is a heart-rendering place of pastoral beauty.
The endless monuments commemorating troops, battles, divisions, states is a lot to take in. Yet at the same time, these structures honoring men who fought bravely for what they believe in add to the sense of peace and honor.
Gettysburg: a reminder of the value of our national parks in the year of their hundredth anniversary.
About the author:
Rob and his wife Jan have been full-timing for the last two years. Following a lengthy career in marketing and leadership consulting, Rob got the RV bug when in 2010 he secured a sponsored trip to visit 50 national parks over seven months in an Airstream Interstate Class B motorhome. He and Jan lived in the Airstream Interstate for the entire trip.
Taking over 12,000 photos on that 35,000 mile trek set the hook for both RVing and photography. Since concluding the 50 park adventure, Rob’s been an artist-in-residence at Great Smoky Mountains National Park (2012) and Rocky Mountain National Park (2013.) In 2015 he and his wife spent six weeks on the Oregon Coast and in the Columbia Gorge capturing images for the Oregon State Parks.
This year, their plans are taking them up through Shenandoah, Gettysburg, the Catskills, White Mountain and Acadia on the way to spending the month of September in the Canadian Maritime provinces.
You can see Rob’s work at:
Adam H. ~“We had a tire blowout. I want to thank the staff at Coach-Net for their quick response in finding an excellent tire shop with the correct size and brand very quickly. Communication with Coach-Net, the tire shop and us was excellent. A bad day turned out pretty well as we were back on the road very quickly thanks to your help!”