Gettysburg's greatness became a matter of record 150 years and nearly 8,000 lives ago. This year just serves as a reminder of it.
With the Union and Confederate armies suffering more than 50,000 casualties combined, Gettyburg was the Civil War's bloodiest battle and the war's emotional turning point. To commemorate it, there's a year full of events scheduled in and around Gettysburg. It all builds to a head this summer with a 10-day program of tours ending in a massive battle re-enactment featuring 100 cannon, 400 horses and 15,000 re-enactors on July 4.It doesn't take Ken Burns or Shelby Foote to explain why this should hold such great significance or why the wholesale slaughter of Confederate soldiers charging at Union lines on Cemetery Ridge changed the entire country's direction. It doesn't hurt to have the scores of volunteers and historians scheduled to attend various events in Gettysburg this year on hand to sort it out, though.