I was at Gettysburg the other day. I had not been there in about 20 years. It is an incredibly moving part of the American landscape. Warren Wiersbe told me, “It was the greatest slaughter of teenagers in American history.” Very true. Some 53,000 men and boys killed, wounded or missing in just three days. Wherever you go, you see monuments and statues dedicated to heroes, both Union and Confederate. (Yes, the Lee statue at the Virginia Memorial still stands.)
I visited the “new” visitors’ center. The old one housing the Cyclorama painting of Pickett’s Charge had been torn down and rebuilt almost ten years ago. The new display of the Cyclorama is stunning. The painting is restored, and you just gasp in amazement when you see it.
I was not as impressed with the movie that visitors watch before they are allowed to see the painting. Although it is technically well done, it definitely gives the impression that slavery was the sole cause for the war. And Abraham Lincoln comes out looking like a staunch abolitionist who was crusading to free all the slaves. (The film omits the fact that Lincoln was FOR the original 13th Amendment, which would have enshrined slavery in America as a permanent legal institution.)
The museum, however, was off the charts good! It had many surprising displays, including the stretcher that bore the wounded Stonewall Jackson off the battlefield of Chancellorsville. They also had the table on which his left arm was amputated. Where in the world did they get that????
The book store was great too. I was glad that the National Park Service had not yet succumbed to political correctness there. I saw numerous coffee mugs with pictures of not online Union heroes, but also Confederate ones as well. So, history is not banned (yet) at Gettysburg. Go see it while it’s still there.