Friday, July 12, 2013

Battle the Crowds at the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg? Why Not?

This is the pin Mark wears on his uniform now.  Isn't it pretty?  Learning a new job is very challenging and not always on the fun side, especially when you are totally out of your element-think infantryman now being a logistics officer, learning new loggie lingo, new procedures, navigating through the world's largest office building and realize two weeks into the job that you are the man with the most time in the job and have to start training the "new guy".  That's just a peek into Mark's world at the moment.  There are two things in the midst of this insanity that makes it all wonderful - #1 - His job is such that he can't take anything out of the office.  This makes me VERY excited!!  Never has he been able to turn his job off.  It's always there.  #2 - He always has a 4 day weekend.  So, the 4 days/nights that he is working are crazy 12 hour shifts, but 4 days off, ahhhhh.  Wonderful family time! 

Which brings me to the crux of this blog entry.  Back up to Presidents' Day back in February.  It was Julia's birthday weekend and all she wanted to do was go to King of Prussia Mall, shop and eat lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.  So we did.  It was so fun.  We ate well, we shopped well, we even went to Valley Forge.  We got back home, tucked the kiddos into bed and a little while later, Hope was up, sick.  Poor bugga.  That's a Maine term of endearment for something so sweet and little.  Not to be gross, but she was puking sick.  Violently so.  It was the worst I had seen.  After one bathroom session, as I was tucking her back to bed, she coughed.  It landed right into my open mouth that was saying, "I love you."  And in doing so...she shared the love.  I was so sick.  I never remember ever being that sick.  I missed most of the rest of the day between sleep and running to the bathroom.  Mark didn't have class, I can't remember why, but I do know that he and Julia were out and about that morning, getting crackers and ginger ale for when Hope and I wanted it.  One of the things I remember was him being so excited about getting the USAWC camper in Gettysburg for the week of the 4th of July.  All I could think of at the time was driving back down to PA from Maine. 

So fast forward.  The excitement built, it really had no where to go but up at that time.  When we found out that Mark actually had those days off in his regular schedule, it was time to really get excited.  Now, some of you are thinking that we are crazy...the crowds will be huge...a huge crowd has never scared off Mark & Sarah.  Mark was like a kid at Christmas.  Where did he want to be on July 2nd?  Any guesses?  Little Round Top at the 20th Maine monument, of course!

And here we are.  150th Anniversary of the Battle of Little Round Top with a Joshua Chamberlain re-enactor.  Yup, there's no where else Mark would have rather have been.

We were with our friends, the Hasemans, and they were getting the full Little Round Top history lesson.


These kiddos are such good buddies!  They are even good sports as they let their parents drag them all over the battlefield in 100 degree weather and they all had smiles on their faces. 

Troopers.  Yeah.

Day 2 was hotter than day 1.  Ugh.  I was thankful for our Camelbacks which we all sucked dry!  July 3rd found us at the High Water Mark waiting for a re-enactment of Picket's Charge.  We northerners waited while the southerners formed across the field.  We met 4 sisters who were there with their dad, a huge Civil War buff.  They told my girls that they were all here together on the 125th anniversary and were about my girls' age.  They told my girls that it was fun to follow their dad around to battlefield, though he tended to tell the same stories over and over-my girls can relate-and that they would be back at the 175th and would look forward to seeing my girls again.  It was so cute!  There were so many people over there.  It was neat to see the crowd build.  There were many things going on all around us, buglers, units marching, PA State Police helicopter overhead, girls sweating....

 ...and the southerners lining up at the Virginia Memorial waiting for the signal to march across the field. 

Though there was no weapons or cannonade, it gave me chills to see these people marching straight toward us.  In no way can I say that I understand what it is like to be a soldier on a battlefield, but to be there when all these people came across like so many did on that day, it was hard not to try to put myself there and it was hard to keep tears at bay.

When everyone had arrived to the stone wall, Taps was played in an echo all down the line.  General Lee was present to salute.  There were those chills and tears again. 

General Meade

Saw these guys down town. Couldn't help but steal a picture.   

Day #3.  Still hot.  We were able to meet up with some friends/family from Maine and see a few more sites before heading back to the big city.

A few mementos left.

Signal Corps.  One on top of Little Round Top, one at Devil's Den

Strong Vincent.  If you haven't heard this guy's story...check it out here.  Inspirational.

Battling the worth it!  Being at Gettysburg for the 150th anniversary is something none of us will forget.