This was one of those rare battles, and wars, where it was not just the low ranking officers and enlisted men who were killed or maimed, but also some of the highest ranking officers on both sides were lost or injured. For the Union, General John F. Reynolds was killed, and Generals, Barlow, Sickles and Gibbons were all injured, some horribly. The Confederates lost Brig. General Lewis Armistead, and Generals Trimble and Kemper, just to name a few who were injured. These were brave warriors one and all !
As I drove around the battlefield and walked amongst the the monuments I could not help but be touched by the wreaths, flowers, and flags, both American and Confederate, left at the bases, by visitors, of almost every monument. And there are a lot of monuments on this battlefield ! I could not help but be moved, myself, by the feelings that these cold marble and stone statues and markers evoked deep inside me, as did obviously many others who visited the battlefield. This place is truly a monument onto itself of mens bravery and resilience in the face of horrific moments of desperation. We Asatru talk of bravery and honor, these men created it here in these fields in southern Pennsylvania.
I have been to the Vietnam Wall War Memorial in Washington D. C., and I have witnessed first hand the emotions that this great monument evokes in people. There the emotions are still fresh; tears flow as loved ones trace the names of those lost onto paper; dismay and anger can be seen in the eyes of veterans when they see the names of comrades lost in the unforgiving jungles of Vietnam.
At Gettysburg, the tears of anger are gone, the bitterness forgotten, and the hatred forgiven. All that remains here are the immortalized acts of bravery, on both sides, of those men who served their countries during this conflict. I have seen pictures and video of the 1938 reunion / dedication of the eternal flame at Gettysburg. These men did not hate each other any longer and there was no animosity left between them. Maybe a little good natured rivalry but that was all. Those men rose above hatred and bitterness to become our greatest heroes. 100 years from now, even 500 years from now, their deeds as well as their souls will remain on these hallowed fields. And future generations will feel their presence as we do today . When I went to see the Cyclorama painting / show, a woman a few feet away from me started crying during the presentation. Almost 150 years later these men and their actions on these hallowed grounds can still evoke such powerful emotions. This is truly a sacred place for heroes. And these heroes belong to us right here in America. They are our people, our ancestors, and we should be proud of their actions and honor them as we do our Viking ancestors. Their deeds will remain in our hearts with great pride forever !
" In great deeds something abides. On great fields, something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear; but spirits linger, to consecrate ground for the vision - place of souls, and reverent men and women from afar, and generations that know us not, and that we know not of, heart - drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come to this deathless field, to ponder and dream, and lo ! The shadow of a mighty presence shall wrap them in its bosom, and the power of the vision pass into their souls".
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin
Gettysburg, October 3, 1889
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love and Thor's protection !