Daily Archives: October 29, 2014

The Dead and Those Forever Changed: Gettysburg and the Human Cost of War

Friends of Padre Steve’s World
I am preparing to go to Gettysburg with my students this weekend. Things have been busy at home as well, like many people in the Hampton Roads area our neighborhood has been invaded by Roof Rats which according to the local news are recent immigrants having migrated here from Florida. Like our neighbors we got them too, so that will be a pain in the ass.

I am re-posting this article about the dead and those forever changed by war. Being one of those changed by war I am constantly amazed about the accounts of the lives of those considered to be heroes in previous wars. Gettysburg provides a number of such men, heroes who were forever changed by their experience, damaged in body, should and spirit.

I have a chapter revision to my text that should run tomorrow. I will also have my thoughts about being inducted into my high school’s Hall of Fame, an honor that I now share with a good number of amazing people whose accomplishments are such that I wonder how I got in. I also am musing about writing an article about the profound difference between “tolerance” and “acceptance” and how easily tolerance becomes intolerance because at its heart it is not based on grace, love or acceptance. Anyway, I am tired, the World Series Game Seven is coming on and I am going to sign off.
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“Ashes of soldiers South or North, As I muse retrospective murmuring a chant in thought, The war resumes, again to my sense your shapes, And again the advance of the armies. Noiseless as mists and vapors, From their graves in the trenches ascending, From cemeteries all through Virginia and Tennessee, From every point of the compass out of the countless graves, In wafted clouds, in myriads large, or squads of twos or threes or single ones they come, And silently gather round me…”

From Walt Whitman- Ashes of Dead Soldiers

Too often we look at distant battles and campaigns in terms of strategy, operations, tactics, leadership and the weaponry employed. Likewise we might become more analytical and look at the impact of the battle or campaign in the context of the war it was fought, or in the manner in which the tactics or weapons used revolutionized warfare. Sometimes in our…

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