If Mr. Smith Can Go...So can we!
Trip Start Jun 09, 2009
14Trip End Jun 23, 2009
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The damp and heavy air filled the morning as we meandered down the two lane country highway to hilly Gettysburg. Stop! I hit the brakes and went off the paved surface on to the gravel side --- to see a marker they had on the road. “Here is the spot…” as the marker read. Picture after picture I was amazed that something so important was just off the road all alone. Back on the road again I got the truck back up to about 45 when I hit the brakes again. Stop! Hopped out and took in all history had to offer
Gettysburg’s story could fill this whole blog…and you history nuts know what I am talking about. In a nutshell, the South’s General Robert Lee gambled on a push beyond Washington into tight northern territory. He was on a roll after campaigns in Manassas and Charlottesville and Anteidem…why stop there he thought. For 3 short days in July of 1863, his tail got kicked by the Federal’s General….Meade. Lee got too cocky and it cost him. The carnage alone totaled 31,000 on both sides. The town was just about wiped off the map. After 100 days of burying the dead and clearing body parts quite frankly, Lincoln wanted a national cemetery built to honor those who died. Four months after the battle, he was asked to give a few remarks before the governor spoke, to dedicate the new cemetery. In his hotel in downtown Gettysburg, he sat in the room on the second floor all the way to the right and quickly jotted down his “remarks.” Little did he know those words of “Four Score and Seven Years Ago….and Of the People, By the People, and For the People” would be etched into the American fabric forever
Pure silence sinks into the soil when you are out there. Trees rustle with the breeze, visitors walk in awe, while all imagining what sunrise was like when those first canons fired.
And to think how close Lee was to Washington! That’s what scared the hell out of the Union. And I could see why when we drove on to the National’s Capitol in an hour flat.
(Cue the John Williams Music) As we entered Washington, the sun finally broke enough to see the towering spike (Wash Monument) in the distance. We made it! Felt like Chevy Chase weeping when the family pulled into Wally World. And I know you will not believe me when I tell you this….but when we crossed the Washington Memorial Bridge, just west of the Lincoln Memorial, our tripometer from Houston read 1776 miles. That’s right….1776. Doesn’t get much cooler than that, huh?
We literally threw our bags in the room and got on the streets
Dinner at Union Station….believe me its not your father’s train station. Its like the Galleria in Houston. Had crab cakes at a place aptly named “America.”
Now I type in the glow of monitor letting Brian catch some sleep. I have the curtains open as we face the Capitol. (Didnt mention that we are one block from the Capitol did I?) It’s dome being sprayed with beams of light at the base is blinding white in the dark night. The stoic building has this Godfather effect on the twinkling traffic lights and street lamps below…keeping an ever watchful eye it seems on the National it governs. The occasional honk of a horn or passing siren provides the soundtrack for that classic “big city never sleeps” feel that I so love. How many deals…handshakes…inaugurations...fillabusters…hearings..impeachments… have taken place inside its walls. I could look out my window all night. I love it here. This is my Xanadu.
Tomorrow morning….service at the National Cathedral, and then….well – you’ll find out. I will tell you though, we do have some pretty hot tickets for this town that not everyone can get. Here til Thursday…Dispatch out.