I was among the group of a couple of dozen or so historical authors who appeared at various venues in Gettysburg on Friday and Saturday during the 10th annual History Meets the Arts. This was my first time as an author to attend this event, and I was very pleased to meet so many great people, including several of my blog readers.
On Saturday, with the weather (at the time) being marvelous, HMTA Book Festival organizers moved a small group of authors from the Gettysburg Hotel outdoors to the grounds of the American Civil War Museum / Gettysburg Gift Center. One of these was fellow blogger Richard G. Williams. Rick shared some insightful and interesting ideas on print-on-demand publishing, as we have used a common printer in the past.
During this morning’s private devotions, I reflected on how much better today’s world is than the world of 1863. In the same general area where Rick, a native of Virginia, and I, a native of Ohio, sat at opposing tables and calmly and peaceably engaged in stimulating conversation, two strangers sharing a common interest in the book industry, two armies were trying to kill one another on July 3. Specifically, Lt. Col. Franklin Sawyer’s 8th Ohio, some of whom were from the Cleveland / Lake County area where I used to live for two decades, was positioned near the Emmitsburg Road during Pickett’s Charge and blazed away at John Brockenbrough’s oncoming Virginians. The common interest between those Virginians and Buckeyes was the Minie ball.
Nearly 144 years later, a Virginian and a Buckeye sat together near those killing fields and shared the bonds of mutual respect and a common interest of the pen, as well as our respective faith in the Lord. I could not help but reflect in my devotions this rainy Sunday morning but how we have come a long way since the tragic days of 1863, when perhaps Rick and I would have been shooting at one another, not laughing and talking. I also, as a Christian, could not help but recall how many stories I have read regarding each warring side’s fervent belief that their cause was blessed, and that God would bring triumph in the end. And yet, what the battle brought was a “new birth of freedom” for so many, and the tragic scars of war and hatred for so many others.
In today’s world, we need to do whatever we can to honor the memory of those who gave their lives, their time, their individualism, and their duty to their causes, but we must NEVER repeat their mistakes of regional sectionalism and strife. And, we must continually strive to do our parts, as Civil War historians and history buffs, to help continue to heal the remaining wounds.
May God bless America, and may Americans bless God!