Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg

IMG 3182

On our way through Pennsylvania on Friday, we stopped at the Evergreen Cemetery, where President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address to consecrate graves of so many men from the North and South who fought for an idea of sovereignty, the political discussion of which ocurred worlds away from where they lived their lives.

Our tour of this National Cemetery was a quick one. No pets allowed. On a mercifully cool day, we locked Clyde in his cage in the car with the windows wide open and had a quick look at this hallowed place.

The burial ground is remarkable for its modesty. Just across the street are monuments to the great military minds who led boys into battle. They are gigantic men on horseback, and they are overpowering. Here, in contrast, are curved row after row of graves of unknown soldiers marked with numbers. Above them stands some goddess or other (She is another powerless being in the face of all that anonymous loss. I didn't try to figure out who she was, though I could google her now.) holding a laurel crown over these men whose gaves ripple across the earth like an echo on water.

Not so many yards away is the Kentucky-sponsored memorial to the great son of that state whose brief speech every sixth-grader in Waterbury can recite even if they don't get what happened, where, or why. As Adella and I took in the figures on this memorial and tried to sew together some meaning for ourselves, we could hear Clyde yelping an acre away. We had to go because that's what you do when the baby cries.  You do what you think is right for the ones you love.

As we drover through the battlefield on our way to North Carolina, I kept thinking back to those nameless men buried in that humble space. I thought of two questions my friend Brian posed last week before the Buddhist meditation group. One: "What are you willing to die for?" Two: "What do you want to fill your head up with?"

Gettysburg asks the same questions.

May we be worthy of our passions, and may our passions be worthy of us. And may they, and we, be equally beautiful.


  1. Your last sentence says it all, Sandy! A beautiful and inspiring post as always. Thank you! Enjoy!


  2. I've been to Gettysberg years ago in the 1960s and remember being affected by the site of where so many gave their lives...war continues unfortunately as long as men live.

  3. Such an eerie sad place. I have seen such signs at other battle ground grave yards. One is reminded of ones many blessings.

  4. I kept thinking back to those nameless men buried in that humble space.>>> i hope that they already found peace in the creator.

  5. Two important and difficult questions. Very significant post.
    Happy holiday, Sandy!

  6. So many men...for honor?...for country?...for freedom?!
    Two great questions...they will fill my head today.
    And I will ponder my passions and check their worthiness.
    Thank you

  7. I have been to quite a few battlefields over the years but somehow Gettysburg was the most powerful.

  8. To see places like that brings to mind one thought... When will we stop raising a fist towards our own family? My heart wonders why we will fight the hardest against our own...

  9. I was at Gettysburg many years ago and felt exactly the same way. Thanks for the memories and the wonderful thoughts.

  10. So sad. I hate to see men die especially young men in war who have everything to live for and leave young wives to go through life without them.

  11. You and your wonderful way with words. Your cloing thought is perfect.

  12. Gettysburg, Antietam, Arlington ... all places that remind us that our forefathers died to prevent us from being enslaved by other peoples ideology. When you have more time take a look over Gettysburg form Little Round Top or the top of the Pennsylvania monument.


Post a Comment

Thanks for being here.