01 July 2013

Monday Musings...
And we're back into another one of those "weather-ruts"...a repeat forecast with some sun, clouds, some rain and moderate temps.
It could always be worse...it could be like LAST year or even like it is out in AZ over the last few days.
My heartfelt prayers go out to the families of the Prescott firefighters lost battling that wildfire.
*** This is a special week in America; a patriotic week, not that some people couldn't give a rip about that.
All THEY want to do is set off house-shaking, mortar-round fireworks...like the kind WE'VE had to deal with from a few a$$holes around our place. Yes, the ones police NEVER seem to be able to catch.
I'm all for the celebration of our country's independence, but I have to draw the line with disturbing others needlessly, when fireworks displays abound all over the area...FOR FREE! Those are the kind, performed by folks that KNOW WTH they're doing, rather than the street-pharm induced buttheads that somehow manage to purchase HUNDREDS of dollars worth of ordnance (with no visable means of financial support) and make the neighborhood sound like an "off-night" in Kabul.
The CITY is NOT the place for amateurs to play with such things, unless our city leaders wish to only allow such detonation of these devices in OPEN areas...like that nice, BIG and EMPTY Scott's parking lot along Decatur Rd for example.
Maybe a few lawsuits directed at the city for the failure to provide that "quality-of-life" we hear tell about would be in order.
I'd wager Hizzoner, Mayor (read King) Henry doesn't have such things happening on HIS street...EVER.
*** Like I started off with, this week is special, and in another way.
This marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, and that small town will see over 200,000 people descending upon it to mark this event in American history.
Here's the website that gives you the lowdown on ALL the events:
Now, I've been to Gettysburg a few times, and even made a video of a walking tour of the high points along the area, and that was way back about 20 years ago. (available only on VHS at our house...lol)
During the 130th anniversary, there were people from ALL over the USA, dressed in period garb, towing CANNONS behind their duelie pickups.
REAL cannons, as in Civil War field howitzers, and I got to hear them shoot later on during THAT re-enactment.
There were more than 15,000 people representing both sides of the battle and it was something to see...history coming alive.
I suppose the most emotionally moving time for me when I was there, was to sit on an outcrop of rock at the summit of Little Round Top, watching the sun set.
I stayed until the last vestige of sunlight retreated beneath the hills to the west, and believe me, it gets DARK out there, but I had a flashlight with me to find my way OFF the rock and to the car.
There is not a better place to come to understand what transpired there all those years ago, and why it seemed inevitable, although truth be told, the meeting of the two armies was more accidental than anything.
*** Today, the first of July, marks the first day of the 3-day battle, which resulted in as much death as the totals for us in Vietnam.
And you have to realize that it was brother against brother; American against American...on American soil.
Thanks to the Civil War WIKI, I'll provide the link so you can read what took place each day of the battle.
Today, the armies first meet, after Gen. George Gordon Meade, newly appointed commander of the Army of the Potomac moves north from Maryland in pursuit of Gen. Robert E. Lee, commander of the Army of Virginia, who convinced Jefferson Davis that an attack to Pennsylvania would let the Union know they were vulnerable and perhaps bring an early end to the conflict, allowing the south to formally be recognized as it's own "united states" (the Confederacy).
With Davis' permission, Lee procedes NORTH along the backside of the Blue Ridge Mountains up Maryland and into Pennsylvania.
After raiding Carlisle and York, PA, (mainly for supplies like shoes, to which Lee ordered his men to PAY for things...with CONFEDERATE CURRENCY, rather than "take" them), elements of Lee's cavalry run into Union cavalry and a skirmish erupts.
Lee moved south with his army to handle the situation, rather than be forced to scavenge the area for food and supplies, and even become cut off from a line of retreat back into the southern states.
Here is the WIKI link to the FIRST DAY:
It's interesting to note that the ENTIRE campaign began back on 13 JUNE, and ended on 18 AUGUST. The campaign just culminated on the three PIVOTAL days in July.
Having left Cashtown, Lee's army moved towards Gettysburg, after receiving reports of skirmishes with what was believed to be local militia.
Meade had mobilized HIS troops, and began a forced march from Hagerstown, MD north towards Gettysburg.
Turns out that "Yankee militia" was actually the cavalry division of Union Gen. John Buford.
The WIKI is a marvelous read, and provides a very good account of what took place each day.
I will continue tomorrow and Wednesday with each of the day's links to the site, but if you want to read ahead, I won't stop you.
It might not be for everyone, and perhaps could appear at first glance a bit tedious and boring, but when you take into account ALL that took place in only THREE DAYS on some farmland in a small town in the southern part of PA, you realize the gravity of this happening HERE, and not in some foreign land.
What took place there WAS indeed a moment locked forever in time for our nation, and serves to show us what men and women were willing to do in order to make their point known to the other side.
*** I have studied and been fascinated with the Battle of Gettysburg since I was a youngster. Mom even got me the "blue and gray" playset (made my Marx toys) one year, so when I finally had the opportunity to visit Gettysburg decades later, it was with a profound sense of reverence that I viewed every aspect of the area, reading about the people involved, and getting to know ALL the history that encompasses such a struggle.
This HAS to be a "big deal" too, otherwise you simply wouldn't see SO many people actively involved with this on a yearly basis, the interest growing with every year and every generation.
Even the motion picture industry has managed to capture much of what Gettysburg should mean to us all.
Back in 1993, the movie, simply titled GETTYSBURG premiered at theaters across America.
I was fortunate enough to attend the opening night and there were SO many people there in period attire, a few of which I had met earlier.
Here is the WIKI for the film, based on Michael Shaara's novel The Killer Angels:
Ted Turner backed the production of the film, so one might say it's an "independent" film in some ways, but it IS, if nothing else, a damn fine presentation of the battle as well as a study into the minds of those involved.
The movie was written and directed by Ron Maxwell, and stars Tom Berenger, Jeff Daniels, and Martin Sheen.
Originally planned as a miniseries, Turner decided to release it into theaters in limited numbers.
One of the LONGEST movies in history, the film comes in at 254 minutes - that's FOUR HOURS and FOURTEEN MINUTES!
And there is a director's cut of 271 minutes released on DVD.
I highly recommend this movie to anyone that has an interest in the Civil War, or in America's history in general.
The theater in Gettysburg ran this movie continuously for years after it's release, and often actors FROM the film would stop into town and visit.
Many of them were so moved by the production, and a good number of the scenes were shot with permission on areas on and surrounding the ACTUAL battlefield.
In my opinion, it was worth the $25 million dollar budget.
And as for "extras" for the fighting?
Well, ALL of them volunteered to participate in the movie. They were ALL re-enactors from around the country.
You get the feel for what it must have been like for men of such courage to perform as they did under such conditions.
It's a keeper film.
*** Lastly today, as I stated at the top, this IS a PATRIOTIC WEEK for our nation, and never has this been so needed as now.
You can shoot off all the fireworks and have as many barbecues as time allows, but the REAL reason behind all if this is what ALL Americans need to embrace and use as a rallying cry for this nation.
We are beset by factions that would relieve us of what this country stands for...what it fought for, and what it sacrificed in the numbers of men, young and old, and the women who gave that "last full measure" of devotion for the freedom and liberty this nation represents to all.
We need to stand firm, come to understand the purpose of Independence Day and the meaning behind our founding documents.
It's not just parchment - it's more...MUCH more.
It's who WE are...all of us.
Be well, make a difference to someone, and...
Stay SAFE out there, America.


CWMartin said...

Gee, where to start...
Oh, I know: "Available only on vhs at our house..." YOU SUCK! (lol)

Get that on disc and send me a copy... NOW!

Laurie was reading an article the other night that said they had developed a three-D map of the battlefield that purports to show that Lee made some of his questionable decisions because he couldn't see everything, thus missing some of the Union positions and how many were manning them.

I said that if his scouts weren't out on their own, getting harassed by Custer, he might have had that info. Further, that most of the mistakes made stem from Lee's need to grab a big victory in northern territory to convince the Brits to sell them the ironclads they were building. If he could've crushed Meade, the Brits would have given the South more aid and credibility- and by day three, he saw that change drizzling away and tried to appease the war-gods by putting Pickett's men on the altar.

Would it have made a difference on day two? Possibly, maybe probably. But with a good look at what a win would ACTUALLY have accomplished, Gettysburg, like much of the war, was Lee chasing a Chimera he'd never catch.

Windy old sod today, ain't I?

Bob G. said...

ROFLMAO...yeah, I'm the "keeper" of dead video formats...!
I would like to make a DVD of it...gotta check into that.
(thanks for reminding me)

I also read that article, and Lee could NOT "see" everything, having to depend of his CAVALRY for his "eyes".
JEB Stuart was riding about, causing a fuss, and didn't send couriers back to Lee as he should have in the timely manner demanded.

Lee (and Jefferson Davis) sacrificed VICKSBURG for the battle that was fought "by accident" in Gettysburg.

Grant prevailed in Vicksburg as a result, and Meade held Gettysburg.
It was said that Lee never fully recovered from this loss, and took blame for it.

But that's for another post this week.

Thanks much for stopping by today and commenting.

Stay safe up there.

John DuMond said...

Like you, I'm not a fan of the DIY fireworks thing. I'm sure we'll have some in our neighborhood this year, and they'll scare the hell out of the dogs.

Never been to Gettysburg, but I'd really like to go someday.

Bob G. said...

John D.:
I feel safe enough handling damn near anything explosive (except very sweaty TNT sticks), but I figure if someone wants to do all that FOR ME, and let me and mine sit back and WATCH...that's cool.

Problem is, we have too many pyrotechnic "wannabes" that "think" they know AS MUCH as the pros...and the emergency rooms of hospitals are FULL of the "thinkers" this time of year.

If you EVER get the chance, by all means drive down to Gettysburg.
You will never come way the same...and you'll only be BETTER for it.
But you might have to book a YEAR in advence if you plan to attend in June-July.

Oh, and bring along your hiking boots.
Yer gonna NEED 'em.

Thanks for rolling up today and commenting.

Stay safe out there.