So much sadness, you must embrace it. Only then do you face how much bigger it is than yourself. That it doesn’t matter now, whose side fought for what cause. They were Americans, in the flower of their youth who came to die for their beliefs. Who are we to question them now? They are the ones who should really question us, if there would be a day of judgment. Question whether we have learned anything from their past mistakes. Oh, yes! Many of them, many would have chosen a different path, done things differently. Like Confederate General Longstreet was to have mused; we’d rather fight the war than admit the mistake. They would stare at us; much like the photo’s that William Gardner took of the fallen, with their ashen stone cold faces, and demand we learn.
Perhaps learn to release all madness from our hearts. Revel in the fact, that even though African Americans were abandoned to racism and violence in the post Civil war; they were able to rise up again and claim their Civil rights, and to see the first of their generations sitting in the highest office our Constitution created. Maybe even forego the need to give into resentment, when you have a law of the land that provides freedom to all. Wouldn’t that be enough reason to be grateful to those that died here?
I know I try to. Again, if I may quote the founder, from a letter written to a mother who had lost 5 sons in battle during the war; “I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the alter of freedom.”
I’m not going to make it theGettysburgmemorial this year. I’ve got too much to do. I guess that’s not saying much for my boastful religious devotion, but then again I never did want to go every Sunday to church when I had my traditional religion, either. I never like to feel obligated to fulfill a mandatory worship schedule.
They won’t always be there, and unfortunately, all things do perish from the earth, eventually. So as long as that nation they fought for still stands under my feet, I guess I’ll just keep my religion private within my own heart, until such end.
William Shakespeare, Julius Caeser Act 3, scene 2
General Buford quote: To General Reynolds, “The devil’s to pay.” DePeyster, Decisive Conflicts,153.
Sam Wilkeson quote: N.Y. Times Compete Civil War, pgs 250-251 “Details from a Special Correspondent.” July 4th,1863 S. Wilkeson
Letter to Mrs. Bixby from Pres. Lincoln, American Harvard Classics ,New YorkP.F. Collier N Sons 1909-14 Vol. 43, of 51
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