Filed under: Destination Camping & RV Resorts, Family Camping, Family Weekend Trips, Historic Places & Landmarks, Kid-Friendly Trips
Gettysburg’s hidden jewel
We enjoy Gettysburg, PA a lot. It’s close enough for a weekend trip, has lots to do and see. Plus our home park for Coast-to-Coast is there. So we visit there at least three times a year.
One of the hidden jewels of Gettysburg is Eisenhower’s farm http://www.nps.gov/eise/index.htm. There you can learn about Ike’s presidency and how he hosted heads of state at his home with wife Mamie. It’s incredible to think you can stand in the same room that Eisenhower and Nikita Khrushchev sat in to talk about the Cold War.
If you go the third weekend in September you’ll be able to be part of the WW II living history encampment. It’s like having access to walking, talking history books. Our teenage boys look forward to this trip every year. There are many countries, both Allies and Axis that are represented. You really get a good feel for the uniform, the supplies and the general feeling of that era. There are even those dressed as air raid wardens.
We’ve been really fortunate to talk and listen to some of the people who wanted to share their knowledge of what their “life” would have been like as you step back in time. The twins got to sit on a German dessert motorcycle and sidecar. Talk about having some big smiles on their faces. The German mountain troops (Of course I can’t remember their official name right now) have a very nice set up of weapons and equipment needs for their special needs. Just ask what something was for, they’ll be glad to give you a quick history lesson.
Then there was the lovely young lady who was portraying a nurse from Burma. We were greeted as a special envoy from the states with the sole purpose of seeing what our men and woman were doing over there in hopes of winning more support (and funding) for their plight. As this nurse talked of fleeing Burma and being told to stuff all the medical supplies they could into their jumpsuit pockets I could see the twins’ eyes widen. As she talked of wounded soldiers who had to lay on the jungle floor with only netting to cover them (if they were lucky) I knew my children were hearing history that had never been taught to them in their civics class. This young woman had been able to give them a glimpse of the day-to-day life in the Pacific War. I’m sure we must have stood there for over 30 minutes while she talked and yet it just seemed like no time at all.
As we walked, we also got to talk to the camp cook. If you see him, asked him how he singed his eyebrows when he learned to fire up the dishwasher. Quite a feat to see how his small kitchen was set up to serve so many so quickly, we were impressed.
The paratroopers where quite colorful in their description of the events of D-Day, we happened by as a small crowd gathered to listen to them talk. Don’t be startled when they throw the helmet on the ground, they’re just letting you know the chin straps didn’t always hold up when jumping out of the plane/gliders.
My father instilled in me a love for history that I’ve passed on to my children (and my husband). It’s one thing to sit and read about history, it’s quite another to get out there and see and feel part of history. It will really make you appreciate all the sacrifices that were made in the past so we can enjoy all of our freedoms today.
On a personal note, to all those who have served and are still serving our great country, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. My family is truly grateful for your sacrifices.
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