Well I almost said something nice about The Gettysburg Foundation this week. Alas, almost!!
A friend alerted me on facebook that The Gettysburg Foundation and the Gettysburg National Military Park were offering a plethora of talks about the Civil War. When I checked it out, there were to be three days of talks, all for free on June 29, 30 and July 1, along with book signings. WOW! GREAT!
When I looked the schedule over I found most of the ones I was interested in were set for the afternoon of June 29.
Earlier today, I traveled to the visitor's center and even found parking in the regular lot. What a great day, in spite of the heat, history lectures and good companionship, what else would you need? (At my house the temperature was 102 degrees in the shade!!)
As I approached the visitor's center I heard the muffled sound of a voice on a loudspeaker. As I got nearer the building, I realized the talks are being given outside under a tent!!!!!!!!!!! One hundred and two degrees in the shade!?!?!?
I was incredulous.
The programs are being presented in a marquee adjacent to a multimillion dollar temperature controlled boondoggle! I paused for a moment and listened to a few words that speaker was saying during his talk on the Maryland Campaign.
I found the heat stifling in spite of the fact at least a half dozen fans were set on full blast. I immediately thought of the Ford Motor Company Lecture rooms.
As I entered the building, I noticed a noted author basking in the temperature controlled climate. He had a total of one person in his queue.
I went to the back of the building and checked on the lecture rooms. The large room had the divider up, both doors were locked and NOT ONE PERSON WAS IN EITHER ROOM!!
Upon returning to the front of the building I noticed the author still had only one person in the line.
As I left the building I was furious. Is it just me?
As a taxpayer I was outraged at the National Park Service. And as for The Gettysburg Foundation, this is exactly why I now hold my monetary support.
"This event is free." Indeed it was. The question is, should it have been located in the empty air conditioned classroom instead of outside in the oppressive heat.
Needless to say I did not stay for the lectures. As I traveled home I calmed down. I began to realize that the Gettysburg National Military Park is about the men and women who sacrificed and suffered there. It is not about the incompetent bureaucratic bunglers that have been placed in charge of caring for and overseeing that hallowed ground.
I hope everyone has a meaningful and satisfying July Fourth holiday.