Thursday, October 4, 2007


We visited the Eisenhower National Site, which was the home and farm of Dwight D. and Mamie Eisenhower. They bought the farm in 1950, after Eisenhower's 30 year military career. The farm/ranch is huge, and while the cattle is no longer there, apparently there had been 100 heads of cattle there, some of them prizewinning. The house of Eisenhower is spacious enough and unpretentious. It's a two-story house with a living room, a sun room, a dining room, a den, and office, and servants' quarters, kitchen; upstairs there are several bedrooms. It's decorated in the 1950s style, and the living room has gifts from foreign dignitaries, such as an antique rug from the Shah of Iran, painting from Prague, table from South Korea, etc. After Ike, American presidents were no longer allowed to keep such gifts.

Today's highlight was the tour of the battlefields of Gettysburg. This battle took place in various sections in this town over a period of three days. Some of the fighting took place in town, some of it on fields nearby. The area is huge, and now there are markers from various States to honor those who died or fought there. The figures are staggering: in a 3-day period some 52,000 were killed, maimed, or missing. General Robert E. Lee had gone north and attacked in Pennsylvania; he lost this battle. The South continued fighting for 2 more years, but had to surrender.

It's interesting history and names such as Jeb Stuart, Gen.George Meade, Gen. George Custer, Pickett, Ewell, Jenny Wade, etc. featured in this famous battle.

We saw a light diorama show before we took the actual driving tour, and it was a big help because the area covered is large (battle theater). The diorama gives you the idea of where north, south, east, west are, and where the skirmishes and fighting took place.

Apparently, it took some 50 years, before locals allowed Southeners to build memorials on the battle ground.

I am still considering if such waste of life is worth it all. Lauren says it is, because the South wanted to secede and continue slavery. I am not sure it is quite as simple as that, and I keep thinking of the Declaration of Independence staged in Philadelphia where a group of people broke off from England to have their own way of life.

More dire news about Burma: the military junta continues to terrorize the people there, and I have no idea what the world can do. While the UN and the world dither about what to do, monks, people who have simple staged a peaceful protest are being hurt and killed.

I know that this military junta will not get away with it, but I do not know - and I am curious - how and when they will reap what they have sown.

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