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Yes, Gettysburg is a tourist town.  It is filled with tourist shops, selling knickknacks and bobble headed Generals.  Much as I would like to envision Pennsylvania craftsmen sitting in a barn somewhere creating them, most likely they are born in some overseas factory.  Is it a good thing……

Much as I would like to hope most tourists walk away with a historic book (or one of mine)……I think it is safe to assume that a lot of those touristy items fill the bags of many walking among the streets of this town for the first time…..or maybe the second, or third…….Gettysburg calls to those who visit, to return.

Though bobble headed Lees and Grants aren’t my idea of appropriateness; shadows of the pastif they captivate a child’s eye and interest his or her mind in Civil War history, then I say…..why not?

Most families who come to Gettysburg cannot afford to bring home an expensive antique or genuine relic.  Most carry home that cup, or that kepi, or that knickknack…..and each one helps sustain a shop keeper in town……helps sustain the town where my farmhouse stands.

Taking away Confederate memorabilia will hurt people………the wrong people.  Not the gun toting racist intent on murder, but the innocent people just trying to maintain a business and hire help.

We are seeking to right wrongs here……..but in doing so……we may be creating other wrongs on those with no guilt upon their shoulders………



On this day, one of the most controversial figures in American history met his death. He went from the bottom of his graduating class at West Point to one who commanded the future of so many in his military decisions. In a matter of minutes, I can walk from my farmhouse to the site where Custer fought during the Battle of Gettysburg.  Custer was present at Appomattox. In fact, Custer’s wife held possession of the little table on which the terms of surrender were signed.  This table is now part of our nation’s historic collection.

The mention of his name alone brings battles……it seems you either admire his bravery or despise his arrogance and ego driven mind that held little regard for the lives of men. In a Gettysburg bookstore, I once passed two older women browsing the shelves.  With language, I do not care to embellish in this blog, one said……I hate that arrogant ***………followed by other colorful expletives.  I just listened, as a writer, it is my forte to observe my surroundings; I wait for moments such as this. Even his death was controversial.  There are rumors that Custer was spared from mutilation because of his Native American “wife”……this gave him certain status among the tribe to spare the horrific mutilations done to others at Little Bighorn. His body was exhumed after the battle and sent back to the Academy where his scholarly excellence left much to be desired.  Whether you think his military skills excelled is a totally personal experience.

For all lives lost near southern Montana’s Little Bighorn River, shining down on this historic day…

For those with interest in the paranormal, this site of so much death and intense energy is thought to still contain the spirits of both soldiers and warriors who crossed upon these grounds.



I am weary of debates over which is the actual Confederate flag, if certain buttons on a reenactor’s coat were authentic, if a woman shouldn’t be wearing those sandals with her Civil War era dress………..

these are just things, ……

what is in one’s heart will dictate how he lives his life…….with love or hatred……..
I look at the reenactor’s pride……not at his buttons……
I look at a glowing smile on a woman dressed in period clothes, so what if modern sandals make her steps more comfortable…….
I look at flags in Gettysburg as symbols of remembrance for soldiers who never looked at any flag after the beginning days of July, 1863.
Just my tired musings for today….
Peace everyone.

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So much focus on a flag……symbol of hatred, prejudice, suffering…….

So much of our energy centered on a piece of cloth….as if unweaving its threads could bind together the broken seams of our nation.

What about all the other unseen flags waving……

Waving over prisons where so many lives languish because of such diversity of wealth and wages in our nation……

Waving over homeless shelters where people fear the inside more than the outside streets…

Waving over courthouses where couples are denied legal status or parental rights because they are not the normal family…….

Waving over animal shelters where millions are put to death only for being alive…………Image

Hatred and prejudice doesn’t fly with a flag……it soars with hopelessness, anger, and inequality.

It makes no difference what flag flies, below or above the Mason Dixon Line.

Getting rid of a flag isn’t going to fix this nation….maybe getting rid of the unseen ones would……….then our nature will soar ………



The eyes see what their minds wish……..

Some look at a Confederate flag and see a banner of racist hatred; some remember all those brave color bearers who died keeping it upright during battle.

We can remove the image from stores, from buildings, from the front of homes; but we cannot remove the history and yes, the hatred, that still lives on in the minds of some today.

That hatred will not erase if that flag is erased.  Hatred will find an image, whatever the hater’s mind wishes to construct……be it a flag, a movie, a television series, an ancient symbol reborn into one of evil…….there is no shortage of fuel for the fire of hatred.

So many young men died for that flag, died for what they believed it stood for…….

Perhaps those who think of the flag only as a symbol of prejudice and slavery should revisit history and learn the reasons that flag was carried across battlefields……..

In honor and remembrance of all who gave their lives during this time in American history……..yes, American history, not Northern, not Southern, but American history.


Shirl   confederate flag