Reflecting on the BATTLE of GETTYSBURG during the 150th anniversary of The Civil War

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John Eyster
July 3, 2013

Reflecting on the BATTLE of GETTYSBURG during the 150th anniversary of The Civil War

Today brings to a conclusion the historic observance of the 150th anniversary of THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG which was the TURNING POINT in The Civil War. I have been reading and listening to resources reflecting on that battle and its meanings.

Let me share a couple excellent resources, please.

When WASHINGTON SEMINAR took the bus from Parker HS all the way through to Washington, DC, we would swing into GETTYSBURG on Sat. morning en route. I felt it was a key experience as part of our pilgrimage to Washington, DC which complemented my emphasis on Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address at The Lincoln Memorial opening and closing each week of field study in our nation’s capital.

I would encourage YOU to make it a point to visit GETTYSBURG sometime because seeing the battlefield provides one with keen awareness of what REALLY HAPPENED there, especially the HIGH WATER MARK of PICKETT’S LAST CHARGE. One is able to stand by the grove of trees which was the target for the charge and envision the charge of Lee’s forces.

Do NOT miss the Cyclorama in the Visitor’s Center – I would suggest you see it before walking around on the battlefield in order to have a full review of Pickett’s Last Charge.

If you are in Gettysburg, remember that President Dwight Eisenhower’s retirement home is there. Having had a life-long career with the US military and then US President, that home is the only PRIVATE home which Dwight and Mamie owned. They lived in US public housing otherwise – military and then The White House.

Among my readings, I would rate Robert Hicks’ OpEd column in today’s New York Times is the most significant as he reflects on the meaningful of the CIVIL WAR. You can use this link to read the column, “Why the Civil War Still Matters.”

Do YOU agree with Hick’s interpretation of the real meaning of our Civil War today?

Yesterday I was very glad I could listen to Tom Ashbrook’s feature “On Point” program on National Public Radio broadcast by Wisconsin Public Radio at 10 am. You can use this link to find out about the program, “Gettysburg 150 years later.” The podcast is on the program webpage.

Reflecting on our Civil War is a healthy experience for me as I am preparing to observe and celebrate our 237th Independence Day – the 4th of July – tomorrow.

Here we go…

Mr. E.

Postscript - Reading the Washington Post online, I was fascinated by the article about the re-enactment of Pickett's Last Charge in Gettysburg involving several thousand people. You can use this link to read that report, "A peaceful Pickett's Charge."

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor of political science at UW-Whitewater and an advocate for Project Citizen, a model curriculum for democracy/civics education in Wisconsin high schools. John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.

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