Friday, May 18, 2012

War, Terrible War

I feel like there's so much that's taken place in the history that I don't know very much about. I should know more and be better informed, but I've long forgotten many of the things I learned in school. For that reason I like to re-educate myself by reading historical books, watching documentaries and other historically-based movies or reading things online. One of the movies I recently watched was Gettysburg; the 1993 movie depicting the gruesome three-day battle that was fought July 1–3, 1863. The movie was more than four hours and was very historically accurate, so I learned a lot. It was really well-done and it made me quite sad as I pictured these regular men fighting each other (and in some cases friends fighting their friends) all out of a sense of duty.

War seems like such a senseless thing. I know on one hand war can be necessary when you need to fight for what is right, or to defend your freedom but there are always so many casualties of war that make you wonder if all the sacrifice and suffering is worth it.

Anyway, I loved learning more about the actual timeline of events and how the battle really went down." I also liked learning a little bit more about the real men that fought in the war. There were so many, more than I want to list, but the most notable are Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, leader of the Union Army and Gen. Robert E. Lee, leader of the Confederate Army. The thing that struck me was how good all of these men were. They all had so much courage and integrity.

This was the final thought that was written on the screen at the end of the movie: "Thus ended the clash at Gettysburg, the biggest and bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil. Combined losses from both armies exceeded 53,000. The decisive battle sought by Lee had ended in failure, but the spirit of the Southern Army was far from broken, and the war would rage on for two more devastating years." I guess I never realized #1) just how many men died in the battle, and #2) that the Civil War went on for two more long years.
The movie made me quite sad and my sister Chandra asked me why I would subject myself to such a long, boring movie (boring was her assertion, not mine) that left me feeling sad at the end. It may sound silly, but my reasoning is that I feel a moral obligation as an American and a human being to honor the legacy and sacrifice that these men gave so much for. I feel like watching a four hour movie and doing a little research is the least I can do, especially since it seems like the longer time goes on, the more people are forgetting what has transpired in history.


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