DC Day 3- “The View from Little Round Top”

6 Jun

Well, several weeks ago I posted the Gettysburg Address and talked about why it was so powerful.  Today we got to visit the actual battlefield.  We had an EXCELLENT tour guide who really knew his info; knew where every state’s battle memorial marker was.  He took us all over the place and explained very well the way that the battle days progressed.  It was incredibly enlightening.  The kids gave their full attention; one even listened closely enough to ask follow-up questions.  This is possibly the very best group of kids I have ever been on a trip with.  Ever.  Like, including church youth trips!  Anyway that wasn’t my point…

So the town of Gettysburg, following the battle and the aftermath- which they were pretty much alone in dealing with- they decided that the battlefield should stay as much the same, forever, as was possible. So when you look out over the battlefield, it truly does look almost exactly like how it would have looked back then.  After learning this, and understanding how much importance was placed on continuity I asked how they decided where to pave roads.  They said that basically the went by where the markers were located and where they were paths already worn in the dirt and grass from wagons, carrying loved one going to visit those who had been lost in battle.  Oh, that’s the other thing, there are monuments EVERYWHERE.  And they have never been touched.  So if someone left a stone to mark a body, it is still there.  

Well this went along with something I had been thinking last night.  We had gone to the Lincoln Memorial earlier in they day, the day before and last night I just wasn’t up to all the steps, so I was sitting towards the bottom looking out over (once construction is done) the reflecting pool, the WWII Memorial and the Washington Monument.  I was thinking about how much I just LOVE it here and how I was a little sad that my endeavors to move here didn’t work out.  I was also thinking about how much land is used to create these amazing memorials, monuments and museums.  I mean, the FDR Memorial alone is 11 acres!!  In Houston, if there is 11 acres available they build a Kroger or a bank or a Starbucks or apartments.  I hate how little history Houston has preserved.  I hate that we are still talking about tearing down the Astrodome instead of making it into something.  I know it’s expensive, but I feel like we have so little left…. when La Carafe, a bar downtown is a landmark because it is one of the oldest standing buildings in Houston, and it’s just barely 100 years old we have a problem.

Washington DC, while not without it’s own problems is such a beautiful city.  The City Planners do an incredible job of maintaining the city feel and making sure that the business of being our nation’s capital isn’t compromised while still continuously finding ways to honor those who have gone before us. Right now they are hard at work on the National African-American History and Culture Museum set to open sometime in 2015.  On this trip we got to see the brand new MLK Memorial which is beautifully and thoughtfully done.  

I know that we have a fabulous Texas History Museum in Austin and of course the Alamo and San Jacinto have superb memorials and exhibits to honor our past.  I just wish we had more.  

Anyway, we also went to Ford’s Theater today as well as the WWII Memorial, which will always have a special place in my heart (thanks, Dad!!) and the Pentagon Memorial.  I do have pictures but I haven’t put them on my computer yet. 

Finally I know that today is Tuesday, but I am exhausted.  I do have a topic in mind and will work on it for Friday.   Goodnight, kids!!

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