Sunday, May 27, 2012

“…Altogether Fitting and Proper…”


The first official “American” war dead probably were those American colonists who served the British during the European Dynastic wars of King William, Queen Anne, King George, and finally the French and Indian War or Seven Years’ War, all collectively known on this side of the Atlantic as the French and Indian Wars.

 Since shortly thereafter, American soldiers, sailors and later, airmen, have been giving their lives while serving the United States in wars ranging in time from the American Revolution to the Global War on Terror.

No greater honor is accorded a citizen of this country than that shown to those who have laid down their lives in military service of the United States during wartime. Where possible, an honor guard, a flag draped coffin, a 21 gun salute, and the playing of the mournfully poignant bugle notes of Taps accompany a serviceman to his final rest, often in one of America’s most beautiful National Cemeteries.

Perhaps no one has ever paid a more eloquent tribute to these slain United States warriors than did President Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, a mere four months after the great battle there, when he said, “We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.” “…altogether fitting and proper” is indeed what Lincoln had in mind as the full tribute to those who “…gave the last full measure of devotion…”.

Abraham Lincoln assumed a burden too horrifying for most ordinary people -- an almost personal responsibility for each and every man who served this nation, and, arguably, this included those who fought for the Confederate States of America. He felt each wound, and agonized over the grim butcher’s bills presented over the telegraph after each skirmish, engagement, and battle. He mourned over each death. He and his First Lady, Mary Todd Lincoln, spent countless hours working in the Washington, D.C. hospitals with the wounded and dying, and it haunted him. He abhorred the necessity of it all.

In his mind, both sides were fighting to resolve a hideously divisive and destructive issue once and for all: slavery. That it was complicated by other issues like Constitutionally protected rights of the states, does not void the primacy of the issue of slavery. As president, Lincoln had very little power on entering office that would allow him to affect slavery in any way. The Constitution prohibited any interference, and Congress had passed and re-passed legislation not only upholding slavery, but demanding the assistance of [outraged] northern citizens in returning runaway slaves to their owners.

Lincoln was faced with attempted secession and armed revolt by secessionist and pro-slavery mobs throughout the south, even before he was sworn into office. On assuming office, he acted to the limits of Constitutional authority to save the Union. He was even willing to backpedal on his anti-slavery public stance. Recognizing the enormity of the situation he inherited on his Inauguration Day, Lincoln tried diplomacy, within the guidelines of the Constitution. When that failed, and the secessionist forces opened fire on Fort Sumter a month later, Lincoln had no choice but to call for troops. The Constitution gave him powers to act in case of armed rebellion, or states unconstitutionally entering “…into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation…”, and he reluctantly used them. It was not until a year later that he took the war measure of issuing the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

All those hours at the hospitals, and the time spent at the Soldiers Home on the edge of Washington, surrounded by a regiment of Pennsylvania soldiers, gave Lincoln a sense of belonging to those men. By the time he helped dedicate the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Lincoln well understood what the men were fighting for, and that both sides were fighting to resolve the major issues – one way or another – on the battlefield, as a last resort.

In perhaps his two most eloquent speeches, the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address, Lincoln speaks of the fighting men as Americans, but not as Union or Confederate. When he speaks of the soldiers, he does not identify them with one side or the other: “…The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here…”, “…they who fought here…”, “…these honored dead…”, are all passages from the Gettysburg Address. In his Second Inaugural Address he closes with the final paragraph, "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.” This goes even farther in not only refusing to identify the sides of the soldiers, but also points to the cause as being one that results in a vastly greater, and better nation after the war than the one that existed before it.

An estimated 600,000 casualties, many of whom were horribly mutilated survivors of the carnage that occurred between April of 1861 and April of 1865, so that “…from these honored dead we may 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.”

This Memorial Day, 2012, please join President Abraham Lincoln, and indeed, all the Presidents of the United States of America, in honoring our fallen warriors. Visit a veteran’s cemetery and silently thank the spirits of those who lay there in eternity. And on your way home, stop in to your local Veterans’ Hospital, and spend time with the wounded, and the sick. Thank them for all they have given to all of us.

 [Note: This is an updated reprint of a post made 7 years ago on the occasion of Memorial Day.]

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2012: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chickens: Pros and Cons


There is a local land owner who is trying, for the second time [Oh great! Another LeVan!] to construct a giant chicken farm on Mummasburg Road just east of Herr’s Ridge Road. There are arguments for and against the farm. Below are some.

Pro: A few people will be hired to help maintain and run the mega chicken factory.
Con: A few people will be hired to help maintain and run the mega chicken factory.

Pro: Chicken prices will go down in Adams County Markets.
Con: Chicken prices will go down in Adams County Markets.

Pro: No more scraped bare fields on the turf farm.
Con: No more beautiful turf on the turf farm.

Pro: No more attempts by the school board to build a world class football stadium down wind.
 Con: No more attempts by the school board to build a world class football stadium down wind.

Pro: Traffic will improve in town with the drop in tourism from the smell blowing through town.
Con: Traffic will improve in town with the drop in tourism from the smell blowing through town.

Pro: Breezes always blow around Gettysburg and the Battlefield, coming down from South Mountain.
Con: The farm will be upwind from the Borough and the Battlefield.

Pro: The owner of the property will make tons of money off the farm.
Con: Real Estate downwind will lose value. Merchants will lose business from the drop in tourism.

But hey! One man will make a lot of money and Cumberland Township will get a modest bump in tax revenue. Won’t it?  Never mind that thousands of people will be treated to bad odors [no matter what the Ag expert says…he’s pushing Ag growth!] on a constant basis. And when the Dog Days of August hit and the fans in the chicken barns are going full blast, guess what will hang over the greater Gettysburg area like a heavy fog? That’s right, the smell of the chickens.

Who knows, maybe, just maybe it will become bad enough that one day all you will hear from Gettysburg is:

“Ain’t nobody here but us chickens!”

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2012: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Message from Susan Paddock of NoCasinGettysburg


Friends,
 We won two major wars against those who want to have a casino close to the Gettysburg National Military Park.  But we need continual vigilance to maintain the character of Gettysburg as a family friendly historic treasure.
Right now there is a danger that another one or two casino licenses (for the large 5000 slot casinos labeled Category II) would be auctioned off to the highest bidder anywhere in the state.
HB 65 passed the House and is now in a PA Senate Committee.  This bill offers NO protection for Gettysburg in a time when David LeVan has stated in recent legal papers that he stillwants to pursue bringing a casino to Adams County.  You can read more about the bill here and in the news stories posted on our site.
The bill could be voted on in committee and if passed, go to the Senate floor this month.
If you live in PA, Please write to your PA senator and ask him or her to protect Gettysburg by voting NO on the casino license auction bill because it does not protect Gettysburg.
Just say: Please vote No on the casino license auction bill because it does not protect Gettysburg.
Find your rep and senator HERE:
If you live outside PA please forward this to any friends you have in PA.
Continue to follow this story on our FaceBook page: Save Gettysburg-NCG
THANK YOU for continuing to protect Gettysburg.
Yours for History and Community
Susan Star Paddock
Visit No Casino Gettysburg Network at: http://nocasinogettysburg.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network
 
Thank you Susan!

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2012: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Casino Redux?


 Anyone who thinks the casino at Gettysburg is a dead issue doesn’t know David Levan.

Well, here we go again. By a 140-48 vote, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a bill which would remove the dedicated casino license from Philadelphia [unused, but held by Foxwoods], and auction it off state-wide with bidding starting at $65 million. Be prepared Gettysburg. Once David Levan is unencumbered from the strictures of his contract with Joe Lashinger, he will most assuredly attempt again to build a casino near the Gettysburg Battlefield…on it if he could.

The good news is, that there is no way possible for him to get the project up and running in time for next year’s 150th Anniversary Celebration of the Battle of Gettysburg, when upwards of 3-4 million visitors are expected. [We had a taste of that back in 1998 when the 135th Anniversary was celebrated close on the heels of the release of the movie Gettysburg. The Battlefield was literally gridlocked, with virtually no vehicular movement going on at all for hours during the day, and late night trespassers were a problem despite barricaded park roads. The shops in town were open all night long as uniformed re-enactors swarmed the streets like sailors on liberty.]

What the General Assembly is looking at is the virtual gap between the casino at Valley Forge and the one being built at Nemacolin Resort near Fort Necessity in southwestern Pennsylvania. There is only one casino in that gap, and that is the Hollywood Casino north of Harrisburg at Penn National Racecourse.

Fortunately for Gettysburg, the bill still has to pass the Senate and the Senate has a few built in obstacles. First, the Philadelphia Caucus is foaming at the mouth at the potential loss of one of their dedicated licenses, a license they did little to get up and running when the holder, Foxwoods, stalled the project. [Owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Tribe in Connecticut, Foxwoods added MGM Mirage to their investors and built an MGM Grand hotel and casino on their Connecticut casino property just before the economy went south.]  In Philadelphia, Foxwoods fumbled with real estate problems, developer problems [the various construction unions in Philadelphia have quite a reputation], and a strong anti-casino presence. There was also the matter of financial miscalculations by the corporation and the bad timing of it when the economic slowdown hit the nation as a whole a few years back.  As a result, the second casino license in Philadelphia remains unused. The other license went to Sugarhouse Casino, which is up and running. Parx Casino is a racecourse casino and is located outside of Philadelphia at Philadelphia Park Racecourse.

Second, there is thought in the General Assembly that the entire Pennsylvania market is saturated to the point that there would be no increase in state revenues from another casino. That view has a pretty strong following. Additional considerations against a second mid-state casino lie in Maryland and West Virginia, where casinos are likely coming to places like Charlestown Racecourse [about an an hour drive from Gettysburg in West Virginia], which has the added attraction of horse racing, and a potential casino in Frederick, Maryland, even closer to Gettysburg.  Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racecourse north of Harrisburg is about 90 minutes from Gettysburg.

Finally, there is legislation pending in the General Assembly that would prevent a casino from being built within 10 miles of the Gettysburg Battlefield and the same distance from the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County.

If a new casino is to be built in the mid-state region, it would almost have to be built upstate. We suspect cooler heads will prevail, and perhaps the Philadelphia caucus of the state legislature [NEVER underestimate their power!] will keep the license in Philadelphia. However, that would put 5 casinos in the city and suburbs: Parx, Sugarhouse, Harrah’s at the new sulky racecourse in Chester, the casino at Valley Forge, and the Foxwoods license, the fate of which is in the air. Philadelphia is a big city and its suburbs have grown over the past decades, but we don’t think it can support that many casinos, especially with Atlantic City casinos undergoing some revitalization 90 minutes away.

This is going to be a big fight, whatever the General Assembly decides, and that means tons of money coming into the state from the gambling industry lobbyists. If the license is made available, there will be an auction or a lottery for it, and certainly Levan would make a try for it, IF…he is unencumbered from his contract obligations with Lashinger, and IF…he found another very big investor. He may not wish to be in that situation as then he would only be the local front man, and would not be the one calling the shots. That’s not his style.  However...

Anyone who thinks the casino at Gettysburg is a dead issue doesn’t know David Levan.

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2012: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.