Sunday, July 15, 2012

My "A-Ha" Moment

You know that feeling you get when you figure something out and you go "A-Ha!"  I have had quite a few of those moments, but the one that stands out in my mind happened back in the summer of 1988.  The summer before I became a junior in High School. 

It was July, the month that my parents and I took a cross country trip from Utah to Washington D.C. and States in between.  We drove I-80 traveling East and I-70 traveling West. We visited many places along the way: General George Washington's Winter Headquarters in Morristown, NJ, NYC, the memorials in Washington D.C., Mount Vernon, VA, Fort Belvoir, Va (my birthplace) Hershey, PA and Gettysburg. 

The place I liked the least was NYC.  Too many tall buildings and way too busy for me.

The place I liked best and had my 'A-Ha' moment...Gettysburg, PA.

Before we visited the infamous battlefield, I really didn't know too much about the Civil War.  I just knew that the North won and that it was fought for a few years.  (reading textbooks and taking tests didn't do well for me and the information I inputted into my brain didn't stay place for long amount of time)  Anyway, back to my "a-ha" moment...

When we first arrived at the battlefield, my parents and I toured the museum and watched a little video presentation about the battlefield.  After the presentation, we did a driving tour and saw a lot of monuments throughout the vicinity of the battlefield.  After the driving tour, my parents and I decided we wanted to walk around the we walked near "Devils Den".  This is where "Big Round Top" and "Little Round Top" are located.  As I was walking on the land where men died fighting for freedom, it hit me.  Men actually died where I was standing.  A chill went down my spine as I realized that this place was real.  I could actually touch the ground, feel the spirit, smell the trees, and taste the air of a place that an event actually took place on.  This was my "A-HA" moment.  I learned more on this trip than I ever did from a history textbook. 

Because of this learning experience, I became interested in learning about the Civil War on my own.  I have a timeline book, the Ken Burns PBS special on the Civil War in book and DVD, and I own the movie "Gettysburg".  To this day, I still have an interest in the Civil War and am looking forward to sharing this interest with my children. 

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