Saturday, 2 July 2011

America's Somme

The Somme may have been bloodier (60,000 British casualties alone on the first day, compared to 50,000 from both sides over three days) but whilst 1st July marks in British minds the start of that disastrous offensive, to American minds it signifies the first day of Gettysburg. And in many ways the mass casualties of civil war have a capacity to wound the living unlike those of wars between nations; Kineton produced only 1,000 dead, a drop in the bloody bucket, yet the memory of those frozen corpses below Edgehill can still provoke silence and awe on that place. 


And Lincoln articulated exactly why Gettysburg is important for us, too;
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth

(NB Amazon currently have the 4 hours of Ronald F Maxwell's definitive film on DVD for under £4. Buy.)  

6 comments:

Gallovidian said...

Mr Lincoln also said:

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything.”

and favoured the return of liberated slaves to Africa. Had he lived.....

Mike Cunningham said...

I bought the DVD 'Gettysburg' a year or so ago, and it is one of my favourites for re-viewing, that is, when I can rescue it from my son, who keeps borrowing it.

One of the items which makes this film even more memorable than many is the director's use of some 15,000 'Re-enactment' volunteers; men who furnish their own weaponry, their own uniforms and sometimes even their own horses.

During the shooting of 'Picketts Charge' that murderous walk over a mile of open ground, when the original regiments were suffering from both fusillade and flanking cannon and artillery fire, one onlooker remarked of the Southern extras, "The boys have tears in their eyes, because they are walking in their own history's footsteps'

A superb movie, remembering the greatest bloodletting of the Civil War, and the battle which was the anvil of the Union!

Greg Tingey said...

Gallovidian
Humanity is an "African species ....
Homo sapiens sapientes africanus ... man who thinks he thinks, and comes from Africa!

Otherwise, there are still far too many people in the USA who wish to reverse the judgement of history, or tell lies about "States' Rights" as opposed to keeping people as property.

Gallovidian said...

Homo Sapiens (Species)

Homo Sapiens Sapiens (Sub-Species)

Homo sapiens sapientes africanus (Made up by you Greg)

Jackart said...

America's Towton?

andy said...

I once visited the Gettysburg battlefield and the striking and disturbing thing is how close to each other the regimental monuments are,whole battalions shot to bits just 30 yards from an entirely different unit also being shot to bits,
It must have been absolute hell.