Today we visited the Gettysburg National Military Museum and Visitors Center. It was about a 1.5 hour drive up from where we are staying. When we arrived we opted to take tour of the Eisenhower House. This was the only property that the Eisenhowers owner during their marriage. The house was on a HUGE farmland. There was plenty of room for family to visit but limited space for foreign dignitaries. Eisenhower would entertain at the house and then travel to Camp David for the guests to spend the night and have dinner. We learned a lot about the secret service and how strong and brave you have to be to be a secret service agent. The Jr. Ranger program was actually a Jr. Secret Service program. We had to decode messages, take tests to check our abilities and learn about communications equipment.
We earned our badges and hopped on the shuttle bus back to the Gettysburg Visitors Center. On the bus ride there was an audio program about the history of Gettysburg and we got to drive through many of the historic battlefields. The bus suddenly stopped and the driver said, “Look out the window, today we have brought you a cow giving birth.” We stopped for a minute to watch the cow push a few times and two hooves pop out!
Back at Gettysburg we worked on our Jr. Ranger books, watched a History Channel video about the Civil War and Lincoln. We learned about the death and destruction caused during the Civil War. Most importantly we learned that slavery was wrong, its good to stand up for what you believe in and was stinks.
There was an amazing piece of art called the cyclorama. It was 18′ tall and 370 feet long. It depicted the fight at Pickets Charge. This was the final turning point in the battle when the Confederate troops retreated and the Union declared victory. The war went on for 2 more years after the 3 day battle at Gettysburg.
In the end the Union (North) won. It took a while to recover and 620,000+ people were lost, killed or wounded.
We earned our badges and headed out to drive around some of the battlefields.
It was hard to picture these beautiful rolling hills covered in men with muskets and bayonets fighting to death.
There were hundreds of statues put up to remember the people who either fought or were killed at the Battle of Gettysburg. Some were simpler headstones and some more insanely elaborate marble statues.
We went up into the observation tower, 6 flights up. You could see for miles. We were able to spot many of the different “hills” on which the battles took place.
This visit really gave me an appreciation and understanding of what went on during the Civil War. I am inspired to read and learn more about the battles. We learned that a lot of Civil War history buffs retire to the Gettysburg area so they can learn more and live in the lands of the battles.