Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Returned from Gettysburg

A long line of 1200 battlefield visitors snakes back towards the Emmitsburg Road during Scott Hartwig's "Last March of the Iron Brigade" battlefield experience program on July 1st.
My 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg ended a bit early. I did not expect to attend this year's commemoration until about three weeks ago, and while I wish I could have stayed for its entirety, I'm very thankful that I made it for even a part. I've never attended a battle anniversary before, and I made the most of my three and a half days in town on this historic occasion.

I am still decompressing and reflecting on my experiences. I am also a bit worn out from lots of hiking in the hot and humid weather (much respect for the 6th Corps). In the coming days I will have a few posts recapping my own experiences and summing up my thoughts on the commemoration. Stay tuned.

Ranger Chris Gwinn describes the fighting at Barlow's Knoll.
For now though, I want to say this: the Gettysburg National Park Service staff, and their community partners, cannot be complimented enough for the work that went into this event. They put together (and will continue to execute throughout the rest of this week) an incredibly diverse schedule of over 200 programs, designed to accommodate widely disparate audiences, and they came up with a nearly flawless logistical plan to handle unprecedented crowds. I am sure that they did all of this with less-than-ideal funding. In my day job, I have experience in executing large scale special events, so I know how much planning they take to pull off successfully. I believe that the veterans of the Battle of Gettysburg would be proud to know that there is such a devoted staff serving as caretakers of the battlefield.

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