I wrote this after my family and I watched the movie “Gettysburg”.
Through the clearing smoke of the battle, a viewer may have observed several things. One was the general in gray, leaning against a split-rail fence; his once spotless uniform is smeared with the grime of battle and the blood of his fellow man. His eyes show the pain that he is keeping inside, but his face remains stolid. As his commanding officer rides up on a dappled horse, he turns to face him.
“Where is your battalion, Lieutenant?” the general asks. The soldier turns his tortured eyes to the smoke covered battlefield and answers,
“Sir, I have no battalion left.” the tears begin to stream down his dusty cheeks unchecked as he turns back away from the picture of despair that will forever haunt him.
Across the battlefield strewn with both blue and grey; young and old; black and white, the viewer might observe another thing. A young man in blue, hardly older than sixteen, is searching among the dead and wounded. His dark hair is matted with blood and dirt while his eyes tell the same story the lieutenant’s told. The gruesome things that he had witnessed and been apart of that day were forever etched into the memory of the young boy. Approaching him is another man. Equally battle weary and dirty, he walks haltingly with a limp. His pale face and tear filled eyes gaze over the wounded and dying that lay around him. As they approach each other, a flash of recognition passes between them and they know they have found the objects of their search. Without a word, they embrace with tear running down their blackened cheeks. Brother had left brother that morning believing that they would never see each other again.
The smoke blows over the scene to again hide it from view, but it should be forever embedded in our hearts. May we never forget the sacrifice that those men made that day for their beliefs. We should never brush it off as something insignificant that people in our history books did a long time ago, but remember that their sacrifice that day made it possible to be the nation and people we are today.