Gettysburg National Military Park Sunday morning, July 7th, 2013
I went to visit Gettysburg Sunday morning, July 7th, 2013, 4 days after the 150th anniversary of this horrific battle. One of my hobbies is reading American history, especially the Civil War. I find Gettysburg an incredibly spiritual place. I also recognized that, despite the crowds that were certain to be present, I would forever regret not visiting at this historic time.
The heat has been unbelievable in the area lately, topping 94 yesterday with a heat index of 103, perfect confirmation of my decision to arrive early, around 9 AM, and beat the heat. That meant missing the reenactments, which are scheduled for afternoons, but I was more interested in seeing the places and meditating on the men who sacrificed so much through courage and determination, no matter what side they fought on, whether that side was right or wrong or whether they made it through Gettysburg physically unscathed. All lost something here, and all gave more than we can ever know.
As a Pennsylvanian most of my life, I naturally made it to the state’s memorial. As I looked for vantage points and lay on the ground to get an angle on the National Guard’s wreath, I heard something unexpected. Cello music.
Transfixed, people stopped and listened
A group of twenty-somethings was visiting as well, and one of them, evidently spontaneously, had returned to their van and retrieved his cello. He proceeded to lean against a portion of the wall about a third of the way up, facing the engravings and played an impromptu personal arrangement of “America the Beautiful”.
Transfixed, people stopped and listened. The boy in the fourth photo, perhaps 5 years old, was completely focused on the music. I could barely see to compose the photos.
There are no words for how moving.