The past few days have been what I call “History Geek Week” for me. We have gone on a fantastic historical tour of Pennsylvania with my in-laws. One I’ve always wanted to do and this was a great opportunity.

The first two days in Pennsylvania were spent in Gettysburg, then Lancaster area. Gettysburg is a place to be studied. It is to be pondered. It is a place to sit and wonder.

Next door to the battlefield area sits Dwight Eisenhower’s home and farm. It was a place he retired to and a place where he invited world leaders to come, walk the sacred ground of Gettysburg, and attempt to walk a different way. He knew the horrors of war and wanted world leaders to walk in a new way. He wasn’t a “war hero.” He wasn’t a “Cold War president.” He was a LOT more.

Me and Ike

It is a place to sit and wonder.

It is to ponder the wisdom of a great general who brought victory for the Allies against the threat of Nazism who then worked harder for peace than anyone else in his era. He is worth considering. I want to learn more.

It is to ponder particular spots in the battlefield and take in the strategy of military leaders who could make quick decisions that saved the battle. It is also to ponder mistakes made (THANK GOD!) by the Confederates…

Monument to the Minnesota First Regiment, Gettysburg Battlefield

To walk near where Lincoln must have stood to deliver the Gettysburg Address.

It is time traveling.

It is a place to sit and wonder.

Do we? Rarely.

We form our deformed views of history and hunker down in our echo chambers. I heard a small group of people walk through historical displays wondering why the museum didn’t highlight their echo chamber myth of “states’ rights” more.

We don’t ponder. We don’t learn. We learn what we want and then demand it be reinforced.

But Gettysburg is a place to sit and wonder.

On one side, where the Confederates set up for Day 2 and Day 3 of the battle, stand huge monuments erected by Southern States to make sure no one forgot they were there… and the monuments on the Union side are dwarfed. We give participation trophies to the losers. And we let them build bigger trophies.

Try finding that in Germany today if you want to look for memorials to Hitler or Nazism.

This is a place to sit and wonder.

Eisenhower home in Gettysburg, PA

One thought on “To sit and wonder

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