“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… 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 Chamberlain
Tonight I am getting ready for bed but still anxiously preparing for tomorrow and Sunday as I lead about 25 of our officer students and some of their family members on what is called a “Staff Ride” of the Gettysburg Battlefield. In preparing for this I have taught three classes periods at our school and prepared a lot of my own research and writing.
We drove up today and in the van I was in we were able to talk about aspects of the campaign as well as the Civil War connected to this battle. We also discussed the timeless aspects of leadership and dealing with the complexities of people and organizations.
Since the trip up took longer than usual due to bad weather in Hampton Roads and bad traffic around Washington DC I am not going to write much tonight. That is why I led the article with the comments of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the hero of Little Round Top. For me Gettysburg is as Abraham Lincoln so rightly put it “hallowed ground.” I feel that “mighty presence” that Chamberlain described every time I come here. I am drawn here by the actions of men who I never knew but through books and movies, but men who I feel a deep kinship, something spiritual, something deep, something that abides.
I am honored to teach, and in a sense to pass along a bit of what the men who fought here did to consecrate this ground and to give our nation a “new birth of freedom.”