"A government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Sounds familiar? Those immortal words of Lincoln from his Gettysburg speech defines the fundamental meaning of democracy. I memorized that speech for an English eloquation competition, I was in eighth grade then. I also read few articles about the battle of Gettysburg and always wanted to visited it one day. So when we planned for a trip to Philadelphia and Columbus, I took the chance and included Gettysburg in the itinerary.
Initially, we planned to stay in Gettysburg for only few hours. Unfortunately or fortunately, Gettysburg's weather happened to be like that of Gedhu. When we reached Gettysburg at around 3:00 pm, we could not see the road clearly due to heavy fog cover. Hence we departed to Philadelphia that day and planned to come back for an entire day.
We went to the guest information area and got maps and other necessary items. We went in to watch a short movie about the battle and its history followed by a cyclorama about the battle. Cyclorama is basically a pictorial representation of an event on the inner wall of a cylindrical room, viewed by spectators occupying the center position. The sound and light effects give an illusion of movement and reality. It is one of the most amazing work of art I have ever seen.
[A scene from the cyclorama. source: NPS]
We went to the souvenirs shop and bought few presents for our friends back home. The entire park is so huge (actually the entire battlefield was converted to park now) that you have to use car to drive. You can still feel the history there: with cannons, tombs, and statues lying everywhere. First we went to the national cemetery where the Union soldiers were buried, followed by eternal peace memorial and few other sites of importance.
[The open field where Pickett's charge took place.]
Pickett's charge is an infantry assault ordered by confederate general Robert Lee against the Union position on Cemetery ridge. About 12,000 infantry men marched through the open fields towards the cemetery ridge which is occupied by union artillery. About 50% of the men were either killed or wounded and confederates lost the charge, and battle too.
I always thought that Lincoln gave the speech before the war began like one of those scenes in a movie. Actually, Lincoln gave the speech only an year after the battle when the federal government recognized the battlefield as a national park. Our guides told us that it is more fun to visit Gettysburg during the summer. He said that the local people still imitate the battle and there will be so many celebrations and youth camping. All in all, not bad at all. I enjoyed it and I liked the place.
[A memorial statue for the confederate soldiers who lost their life.]
[View of Gettysburg from Devils Den. It is small hill and the open field you see at a distance is the main battlefield.]
The bloody wheatfield. A series of confusing attacks and counterattacks within two hours left the place with thousands of dead bodies.