And here I go again, suffering through another day of winter’s fury. The month of January, so far, has not been friendly here in the mountains of Western North Carolina. We’ve had above average days of sub-freezing temperatures along with days of ice and snow. That being so, today should have been of no surprise. Another arctic blast has invaded us bringing with it extreme cold along with snow.
I noticed the snow right at bedtime last night. It was coming down as teeny-tiny flakes, just like a mist of rain, which had barely covered the back deck. On getting up this morning, it was still misting snow but all that mist overnight had resulted in two to three inches covering everything. Just yesterday, I’d began talking to wifey about plans for our summer road trips and with today’s reminder of just where road-trip plans stand, I can’t help but wonder if summer will ever get here.
Last summer we took an entire month’s vacation to Lynndee’s hometown in the Philippines; and was it ever warm as compared to here at this moment! So as for this year’s plans, I’ve determined we’ll do some historical travel. Having just watched the great movie Gettysburg, I decided we need to journey there to visit the National Military Park, just as we’ve visited the one at Antietam.
Having just watched the movie, I was led to dig out my old book by the great Civil War historian, Bruce Catton, and my old DVD that visits Civil War battlefields. The book is simply named Bruce Catton’s Civil War, a three volume compilation of his works Mr. Lincoln’s Army, Glory Road and A Stillness at Appomattox. In this book I’ve read some of the most moving words ever written about men at war. But in revisiting this book, I discovered that the making of the movie was a great service to the country for it was done in a very accurate way while also humanizing the characters.
The casting department did an excellent job. The actors they chose with the makeup artist’s work presented characters that could have very well been the real individuals being portrayed. Of special credence was Jeff Daniels who did the role of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the commanding officer of the 20th Maine who held Little Round Top in what was one of the most important skirmishes of the entire battle. He looks almost exactly like the real Chamberlain.
Having already visited Gettysburg once, myself, Little Round Top was one of the most interesting sites on the battlefield, standing and walking on ground where history was made. But Tom Berenger’s portrayal of General James Longstreet and Martin Sheen’s General Robert E. Lee are outstanding. And the additional part of the DVD which tells of the making of the movie puts the entire work in perspective.
An interesting aspect to the movie is the tale of General Lewis Armistead and his friendship with General Winfield Hancock of the Union Army, who Armistead led part of Pickett’s charge against to reach what is considered the high-water mark of the Confederacy, where Armistead was mortally wounded. I find it ironic that General Lewis Armistead’s uncle, Lieutenant Colonel George Armistead, was the commander of the garrison at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore which inspired the writing of our national anthem. But fittingly, the young Armistead was buried by his uncle in Baltimore.
And Fort McHenry is another historical site we’ve visited as a family. Another interesting Civil War site we’ve visited is the Cyclorama in Atlanta, Georgia. One of the things I look forward to sharing with Lynndee and Yogi is seeing the cyclorama at Gettysburg, as awesome a work as the one in Atlanta.
But visiting Gettysburg has another couple of destinations in mind: a trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the Hershey Bar and then on down to Washington, D.C, not just to be the usual tourist, which we’ve already done, but to see my Atlanta Braves battle the Washington Nationals in a baseball game. The perfect ending to a perfect trip, though I still have plans for us to go to Atlanta to see the Braves play in their new stadium. So it’s certainly going to certainly be a busy summer of road trips!