"Colors, Post!"

On 19 November, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln stood on Cemetery Hill in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and in less than two minutes gave a few remarks that will forever be known as “The Gettysburg Address”…the words that he spoke that day are worth revisiting on a daily basis-not to be “memorized” for a school project, but to taken for their meaning and applied…each year, the scene is revisited on the 19th, with James Getty delivering Lincolns’ words as solemly as the President must have…this year was no exception, with Mr. Getty giving “the Address” following a fine presentation by journalist Sam Donaldson…immediately following the speech, there was also a ceremony in the cemetery for several soldiers who were members of the United States Colored Troops…

After leaving the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, we did a little shopping and dining in town, then headed out to our “home away from home”, the Lightner Farmhouse B&B…once again, we opted for a canvas wall tent for our accommodations…although the nights turned quite cold, at least the Lord provided us with a dry weekend-no rain or snow!

Saturday,20 November, was a day that none who were in attendance will soon forget…at 9AM, many of the men and women of Co.D,62nd PA Living History Unit,

"62ndPVI"

gathered around the 62nd Monument in Roses’ Wheatfield to pay tribute to those who fought so bravely there on 2 July,1863…On that fateful evening, they would find themselves surrounded on three sides by enemy fire…On this day, we surrounded the monument on three sides with family and friends: uniformed men of our Company facing the front of the monument; our loyal friends in the “Confederation of Union Generals” to

"Our lovely ladies"

“COUG in the Wheatfield”

 one side, and the lovely ladies from both groups facing the back of the marker…following a “prayer of remembrence”, and a reading of the names of those veterans from the 62nd Regiment portrayed by a descendant in the unit today,Terry Greene played a haunting version of “The Battle Cry of Freedom” on the fiddle[Terry’s ancestor fought in the Wheatfield

"All is well...rest in Peace"

 also,148th PVI]…General Buford[Mike Smith] then gave a moving speech, citing the names of some from the Company who gave the last full measure of devotion in the Wheatfield…with those names still lingering in the air, Terry concluded our ceremony by playing “Taps” on the bagpipes, and a Sheave of Wheat[adorned with a U.S.Flag and black ribbon] was placed at the base of the Monument…

"We must never forget..."

From there, we all proceeded to the Emmittsburg Road and the monument to General A.A. Humphreys…we were joined there by many other COUG members, members of the 98th PVI unit, a Civil War band, and many civilian guests and spectators…following a speech by General Humphreys[Jerry McCormick], Terry performed “Flowers in the Forest” on the bagpipes, the band played a military aire,and General Meade[Andy Waskie] directed everyone to the Meade Equestrian Monument on Cemetery Ridge for the final tribute of the morning…

"All due respect!"

An even larger crowd gathered there, and additional guests included representatives from the” Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War”, and an author who is working on a book about General George Gordon Meade…General Reynolds[Mike Riley] introduced all of the COUG members, and General Meade spoke briefly to the crowd…Terry played “Amazing Grace” on the fiddle, and a bugler concluded the morning with “Taps”…as our services were ending, the sounds of the SUVCW/GAR ceremony could be heard at the Woolson Memorial in Zeigler’s Grove…fitting and proper tributes,every one…

At 1PM, the 62nd stepped off as Honor Guard with COUG in the Gettysburg

"62nd on the move"

 Remembrence Day Parade, and Mariel’s drumming kept everyone in step!…It’s hard to find the words to describe the sound or the feeling: the SUVCW band in front of us; our drums and heel plates all hitting in time; and the voices of the 54th Massachussetts singing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” to our rear…add to that the cheers and waves of the thousands of spectators, and for a living historian, for that brief moment in time, you are “living history”…I could picture Jefferson Truitt, James Barrett, David Truitt, Absalom Stoner, James Rankin, John Warnick, Daniel Swigart and the rest of the 62nd marching into Pennsylvania on their way to Gettysburg…

"Honor"

To finish our day of remembrence, we returned to the Soldiers’ National Cemetery for a turn at Guard Duty around the Soldiers’ Monument during the Annual Lumunation…General W.T.Sherman[Tony Rosati] was in attendance, and along with Cpl.Callen[Rob Skeel], led us in for the changing of the guard, and posted us at intervals around the Monument…this, above all the duties we performed throughout the day, drives home the reason why we do what we do-to stand a silent vigil over the graves of those who died, while a flame flickers for each life lost, including those from Company D,62nd Pennslvania Volunteer Infantry.

"The last full measure of devotion"

 Photo credits: All photos on this post by Brittany Skrzypek, except “We must never forget”, by R.J.”Slim”Bowser. Thanks Walt and Brittany.

Advertisements