Gettysburg National Military Park

My parents treated my six nieces and nephews to a trip to the East Coast this summer, with such highlights as seeing "Wicked" on Broadway, visiting historic Philadelphia, and attending the annual Strickland Family Reunion in upstate New York. During their trip, they also made a stop at Gettysburg to visit the site where my great-great-great-grandfather Francis Strickland lost his arm fighting for the Union army in the Civil War's fiercest battle. Gettysburg is only about an hour from northern Virginia, so I took the opportunity to meet them and spend the day exploring our family's—and our nation's—history.

An excerpt from one of Francis Strickland's Civil War letters follows, which proves that some things never change:

...My sympathies with a Republican form of Government are strong as ever, and my antipathy against Secession the same, but I do protest against the way this war is carried on. I do not think that President Lincoln or his Cabinet are altogether to blame, but a large majority of those employed by the Government have no business at home that pays so well, so of course they want to make a long job of it.... [Dec. 30, 1862]

Click on pictures for larger-size photos (images will come up in a new pop-up window).


A cannon still watches over the battlefield


One of the countless monuments scattered across the fields


Thousands are buried at Gettysburg, including these veterans of later wars


Ghosts of soliders past, still standing guard


My beautiful nieces and nephews


Monument to the New York 154th, my great+ grandfather's regiment


Soldiers National Monument


Detail of the North Carolina Monument


National Shrine, Grotto of Lourdes: A beautiful find on the way to Gettysburg


A panoramic view of the battlefields at Gettysburg


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