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Monday, September 12, 2005


Gettysburg and the Disparity of Historical Burdens

Sandy and I took a ride to Gettysburg a few weekends ago to take a quick look at the Gettysburg National Military Park. We plan to go back there again for a longer visit, but I just wanted to show Sandy, a Canadian who never studied Civil War history, a little of the site.
Pensive Soldier
We decided to stop and get out of the car at the Pennsylvania Memorial, an impressive, domed edifice. As luck would have it, there was a group of musicians giving a concert under the dome of the memorial. They were all dressed in Union uniforms and played period instruments. The choice of music was based on notes and diaries of various regimental bands of both the Union and the Confederacy. Besides the privilege of hearing the performance of these wonderful musicians, it was a great photo-op, as you can see from these photos.
Gettysburg Brass

I hadn't been there for at least 35 years. Back in my youth, I visited Gettysburg with my friend Bill Spitz, who was and is an expert on the battle of Gettysburg and military history in general. My plans are to go back to Gettysburg with Bill soon, soak up as much of his tutelege as possible, then take Sandy back there and give her the Readers' Digest version.

Visiting Gettysburg and being married to a Canadian got me thinking about something very odd, too. Just imagine, while Americans of my generation had to learn thousands of facts and dates for our history, our Canadian friends and relatives only had to learn .. and that last one was a gimme, since every Canadian of a certain age remembers Expo 67 in Montréal, which commemorated the 100th anniversary of the BNA.

Well, OK, since the time Sandy left Canada (when she married me in 1980,) you have to add the Patriation of the Constitution of 1982, but even Sandy didn't hear about that one until years later, since American media is ten times more likely to report a bus plunge in Kyrgyzstan than a significant events just next door in the Land of the Mounties.

So my question to my Canadian friends is: just what the heck did you do with all that time you didn't have to spend on Canadian history in 10th grade!

Editor's note: The Editor sincerely apologizes to all our Canadian readers, especially Prairie Girl, for the crass lack of cross-border sensitivity on the part of the writer. Our staff has in fact researched and found at least five or six additional bullet points in Canadian history.

Heheh. Hiya Steve. You're right we were history slackers -- lucky us, eh?

This reminds me a little of a smartypants biology prof who told us that when HE went to school DNA hadn't been discovered and so he too had more free time than us his students had.

Anyway, I'm glad that you're posting again Steve.

Prairie Girl
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